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9 May 2019

Nick Miller, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

BHP Billiton sued in UK for alleged negligence over Samarco dam collapse in Brazil

"'It's game on': BHP hit with record $7b claim in UK over deadly dam collapse", 8 May 2019

BHP has been hit with the biggest damages claim in British legal history, in a $US5 billion ($7.2 billion) group action lawsuit over the 2015 Fundão dam collapse in Brazil.

The full claim was served on the Anglo-Australian miner in a Liverpool court on Tuesday, along with harrowing accounts of the suffering caused by the dam’s collapse.

SPG Law partner Tom Goodhead said his firm was acting for 235,000 Brazilian claimants...

All the documents have been served on BHP in the UK and Australia, and the company now has four weeks to respond...

In a statement to the ASX BHP said it "intends to defend the claim"...

The UK court action is an expansion of a case launched last year. Originally the action was just against BHP's London-listed company, but it now also includes the Australian-listed company.

The action, which now also includes new claimants, is one of three class actions against BHP relating to the Samarco dam disaster on foot currently. A fourth class action against BHP has been settled...

The claimants accuse the company of being “woefully negligent”, having known the iron ore tailings dam was deteriorating for years prior to its collapse.

The resulting mudslide killed 19 people including two children – five community members and 14 dam workers - flooded three villages and destroyed buildings, bridges and roads...