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16 May 2023


Brazil: BHP's request to delay until 2025 a potential 36 billion pound lawsuit over the collapse of the Fundao dam is rejected by London court


"London court rejects BHP's 14-month delay request to Brazil dam case", 12 May 2023

...A London court on Friday rejected BHP Group's request to delay until mid-2025 a potential 36 billion pound ($44 billion) lawsuit over Brazil's worst environmental disaster, instead granting a five-month deferral.

The world's biggest miner by market value is being sued by 720,000 Brazilians over the 2015 collapse of the Fundao dam owned by the Samarco joint venture BHP holds with Brazilian iron ore producer Vale.

When the dam collapsed, 19 people were killed as mud and toxic mining waste swept into the Doce river, obliterating villages, contaminating water supplies and reaching the Atlantic Ocean more than 650 km (400 miles) away.

BHP said in an email on Friday "it denies the claims brought in the UK in their entirety and will continue to defend the case".

The company was initially being sued by around 200,000 people but in March the number of claimants leapt by 500,000.

BHP's lawyers had said the April 2024 trial should be delayed until at least June 2025 to give the company more time to prepare and allow Vale to participate.

But Judge Finola O'Farrell on Friday set a trial start date of Oct. 7, 2024 and said "this will give the parties a more relaxed, achievable timetable and will provide time for Vale and others to participate if necessary"...

Part of the following timelines

UK: BHP faces £5bn lawsuit over Samarco dam collapse

BHP lawsuit (re dam collapse in Brazil, filed in the UK)