More than 200,000 people and Brazilian groups next week will start lawsuits of 5 billion pounds (6.3 billion US dollars) against the Anglo-Australian miner, BHP in Britain. Dam damage in 2015 which caused the worst environmental disaster in Brazil.
The group’s claim, one of the largest in the history of British law, has been filed on behalf of Brazilian individuals, businesses, churches, organizations, cities and indigenous peoples and will be opened in Manchester on 22 July.
The initial, eight-day hearing will determine whether the case can be heard in the UK, although judges are expected to provide an assessment until the end of this year. If successful, further trials are expected to determine obligation and calculate damage.
BHP spokesman Neil Burrows said the claim did not belong to Britain because it duplicated the process in Brazil and the ongoing work of the Renova Foundation, an entity created by miners and partners to manage repairs and repairs.
The collapse of the Fundao tailing dam, which stores mining waste and is owned by the Samarco joint venture between BHP and Brazilian iron ore mining company Vale, killed 19 and spilled around 40 million cubic meters of toxic mud to the community, the Rio Doce river and the Atlantic Ocean 650 km away.
The complainant accused BHP, the world’s largest miner by market value, of ignoring safety warnings because the capacity of the dam has repeatedly increased by raising its height – and neglected cracks that show early signs of rupture.
“Public companies that are at the top of the BHP group structure, which we believe bear the primary responsibility for disasters, have so far been isolated from the consequences in the Brazilian legal system,” said Tom Goodhead, a partner at the law firm PGMBM, which represents the plaintiff.
Goodhead said Brazilian environmental law had a long reach and was applied strictly obligation for environmental damage.
($ 1 = 0.7967 pounds) (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley in London; additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala in London; editing by Matthew Lewis)
Photo: A rescue worker walks between destroyed houses in the city of Bento Rodrigues after two dams exploded in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil on Sunday, November 8,. dams in iron ore mines that sent thick red mud, water and debris flooded the city, leveling all but a few buildings and killing dozens of people. Photo credit: AP / Felipe Dana photo.
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