Victims of Mariana dam disaster travel to London for High Court hearing

January 31, 2024

Today, we were at London’s High Court to face BHP and Vale at a case management hearing ahead of the full trial in October 2024. Those affected by the Mariana dam disaster travelled 9000km to use the hearing as an opportunity to demand justice for Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster.

Pogust Goodhead were in court representing 700,000 victims, including individuals, Brazilian municipalities, Indigenous communities, and local churches, all of whom suffered loss as a result of the dam collapse over eight years ago.

Among the victims outside the court was Gelvana. Her seven-year-old son Thiago was killed in the 2015 disaster.

“He was such a special boy. I am doing this for Thiago. He always said he wanted to be a policeman to fight the bad guys, but today I am here fighting the bad guys. I am sure he would be very proud of me.”

Last week, A Brazilian judge ruled that mining companies BHP and Vale and their joint venture Samarco must pay billions of dollars in damages for the Mariana dam disaster.

The judgment does not relate to individual claims or compensation and therefore is separate from the claims brought by our clients in England, but it is a positive step in holding BHP, Vale and Samarco liable.

It is time BHP and Vale do the right thing by the victims who have been left to suffer with the catastrophic devastation to their families, homes, land and way of life.

Not only have they failed to provide full and fair compensation to the victims, but they have also exposed their investors to extraordinary levels of risk in relation to the unprecedented compensation bill these companies now face.

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