BHP Says New Claimants Added to U.K. Class Action Over Dam Collapse - Update
15 Março 2023 - 08:33PM
Dow Jones News
By Rhiannon Hoyle and Anthony O. Goriainoff
BHP Group Ltd., the world's biggest miner by market value, said
roughly 500,000 new claimants have been added to a class action in
the U.K. over a catastrophic dam failure in Brazil in 2015 that
killed 19 people and polluted hundreds of miles of rivers in
The Melbourne, Australia-based mining company said it would
continue to defend the U.K. class action, which it said it believes
is unnecessary because it duplicates legal proceedings in Brazil
and work being undertaken by the Renova Foundation, established in
2016 to manage repairs and compensation following the sudden
collapse of the Fundão Dam.
Pogust Goodhead, the U.K. legal firm leading the class action,
said the total number of claimants involved in the class action is
now more than 700,000, including 46 Brazilian municipalities and
thousands of businesses and indigenous people. The firm, which says
the class action is the world's largest, said it is seeking damages
of around $44 billion, citing calculations "based on
well-established principles of Brazilian and international
The Fundão Dam was owned and operated by Samarco, a joint
venture between BHP and Brazil's Vale SA in which each mining giant
has a 50% stake.
Pogust Goodhead filed the class action against BHP in the U.K.
in 2018. In July 20222, the Court of Appeal in London decided the
case could be heard in England, the firm said.
BHP had $3.12 billion set aside as a provision related to the
dam failure on Dec. 31, 2022. Due to the status of the U.K. class
action, BHP cannot project possible outcomes or give a reliable
estimate of BHP's potential future exposure from the legal
proceedings, the miner said late Wednesday in London.
The company said it filed its defense to the class action in
December, 2022-denying the claims in their entirety-and that the
further claim to add the roughly 500,000 additional claimants was
filed on Feb. 25.
"Full details of the claims have not been received," the company
The Fundão dam collapse put a global spotlight on how companies
store the waste they produce during mining, known as tailings. In
addition to the workers and local residents killed when the
embankment burst, many people in communities below the dam were
Pogust Goodhead said people impacted by the disaster had not yet
received full compensation from BHP. It said the next hearing of
the case is scheduled for later this month in the High Court in
London and that the case could proceed to trial in April, 2024, if
a settlement is not agreed.
BHP said all claimants "have avenues in Brazil to resolve any
potential claims including avenues established through the
Brazilian courts." It said the Renova Foundation had spent about
$5.9 billion on remediation and compensation programs to Dec. 31,
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at email@example.com and Anthony O.
Goriainoff at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 15, 2023 19:18 ET (23:18 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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