The mining giant BHP faces the world’s largest class action after more than half a million new claimants joined the fight for justice for Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.
Pogust Goodhead is now representing 700,000 Claimants seeking damages of £36 billion after the collapse of the Fundão tailings dam in Mariana, Brazil. The disaster claimed the lives of 19 people and resulted in thousands of people being displaced, villages being submerged in toxic mining waste, and farms, fish stocks and livelihoods destroyed.
Our Global Managing Partner and CEO, Tom Goodhead, said: “Financial compensation will never turn back the clock for our clients to happier, healthier and wealthier times pre-disaster, nor will it ever remediate the environment to the way it was.
“If BHP had paid compensation fairly and in a reasonable time, however, they would have at least done the right thing and would have lived up to the corporate ESG values they constantly espouse.
“Instead, as a result of continued attempts to frustrate justice, they have now landed themselves and their investors with financial liabilities multiples higher than they should have been and have prolonged the agony for the victims. BHP’s handling of the Mariana dam disaster has been a textbook case of corporate wrongdoing.”
Among the new Claimants are members of the Guarani, Tupiniquim and Pataxos indigenous communities, alongside a significant number of Afro-Brazilian Quilombolas, descendants of African slaves trafficked to Brazil. They joined members of the Krenak indigenous community, whose lands run along the banks of the Rio Doce.
Maykon Krenak, one of the Claimants from the Krenak community, said: “BHP came to my house, took my food, soiled my water and tried to erase our identity. We want justice”.
Media outlets around the world reported on the case this week, with coverage including the front page of the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Times, Australian Financial Review, and the Sydney Morning Herald.
There was also extensive coverage in the media across Brazil, including Folha, BBC Brazil, Veja, and many more.