BHP Readies for Largest English Group Lawsuit over 2015 Brazil Mine Disaster

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Mining giant BHP says it will fight an unprecedented English lawsuit filed by hundreds of thousands of Brazilians for multi-billion pound damages over Brazil’s worst environmental disaster.

SPG Law, a British offshoot of a U.S. litigator, represents 240,000 individuals in Brazil, 24 municipal governments, a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and members of the Krenak indigenous community and has filed three legal claims for unlimited damages over the failure of the Fundao dam in 2015.
It seems to be the biggest group action in the UK.

Listed in London and Australia, the largest mining company in the world with market value, BHP said it has received the correspondence of its law firm, but has so far spent $ 780 million on the Renova Foundation, a company of miners and partners. Manage removal and repairs.

“The BHP will defend this action and remain committed to supporting the Renova Foundation’s efforts to improve and compensate.” Said.

The collapse of the Fundao waste dam, which stores the mining waste and is owned by the Samarco joint venture between BHP and Brazilian iron ore miner giant Vale, killed 19 and the communities poured about 40 million cubic meters of mud on Rio Doce and the Atlantic Ocean. It is 650 km away.

Brazil blamed 22 people in 2016 for crimes related to the collapse of the dam, including murder. Miners this year, along with local authorities, compensation of $ 20 billion in compensation ($ 5.4 billion) has provided. Other public cases, such as a $ 40 billion civil compensation case, were suspended.

Separated from the US investor-class action and continuing to fight Australian shareholder litigation, the BHP rejected all charges against the company, its current and former staff.
The most recent case was filed by the SPG in Liverpool, North West England.

SPG is working with 600 lawyers and law firms in Brazil, and this explains that brought to England because two years ago to live with water shortages by the Renova Foundation “inadequate” 200 pounds ($ 259) was a compromise proposal.

Brazil, the USA and Brazil against BHP and subsidiary in Panama wants the lawsuit using harsh environmental law. This may hold the companies responsible for repairing, irrespective of the defect or intent of victims of damage or compensation.

SPG lawyer Tom Goodhead, “the main issue underlying this case is whether the parent company BHP’s a matter of Brazilian law,” he says.

SPG November 15 and dated by Reuters, in a letter seen by Reuters, about Renova, some of its customers, including municipalities, to waive their rights to pursue the other claims in order oncoming to reach an agreement “serious concerns”, he said.

A spokesman for the BHP refused to comment.

The legal battles were outraged, while the Samarco mine remained stationary. Vale said it could continue its activities in October 2020. Most of the BHP said it was more cautious, saying that the problem was not resolved.

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