The Brazilian Mayor, part of a 200,000-strong group claim against BHP for the 2015 burst dam, has told a British court that suing Anglo-Australian mining giants in Brazil would be like David against Goliath – without a biblical end.

Mario Antonio Coelho, mayor of the municipality of Brazil’s Barra Longa, told a jurisdiction hearing in Manchester that bringing a £ 5bn ($ 9b) case in Britain to Brazil’s worst environmental disaster was the only route to proper justice, court documents show.

Duarte Junior, mayor of Mariana, who has traveled to Manchester with mayor Rio Doce Silverio da Luz, urged BHP to listen to the people of Brazil.

“Because BHP went to Brazil and did not respect our rights, we came to England and our rights will be respected here,” he told Reuters in an email.

BHP has called for a lawsuit, which is the largest group action in the history of British law, to be removed or suspended, accusing it of duplicating the Brazilian process and that victims receive – or will receive – full compensation.

The world’s biggest miners by market value last week said the British legal action was futile and futile.

But representing the prosecutors, lawyer Charles Hollander told the court on Monday there was “almost no chance of a trial” in connection with the 155 billion reais ($ 42b) class action filed by federal prosecutors in Brazil.

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 poured about 40 million cubic meters of mud into the community, the Rio Doce river and the Atlantic Ocean within 650 km.

Reuters

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