BHP notes recent media commentary regarding the addition of new claimants to the United Kingdom group action complaint related to the Fundão Dam collapse.
BHP Group Limited and BHP Group (UK) Limited (formerly BHP Group Plc) are defendants to a group action brought by claimants in the English High Court seeking damages for alleged losses in relation to the Fundão Dam collapse in 2015 (the English Proceedings). The Fundão Dam was owned and operated by Samarco Mineracao S.A. (Samarco), a non-operated joint venture between BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda (BHP Brasil) (a subsidiary of BHP Group Limited) and Vale S.A (Vale). BHP Brasil and Vale each hold a 50 per cent interest in Samarco.
BHP filed its defence to the English Proceedings in December 2022 and denies the claims in their entirety. On 25 February 2023, a further claim was filed to add approximately 500,000 new claimants to the English Proceedings. Full details of the claims have not been received and the amount of damages sought in the English Proceedings remains unspecified.
As noted in BHP’s results for the half year ended 31 December 2022, the Group’s provision related to the Samarco dam failure is US$3.122 billion as at 31 December 2022. Further details of the Group’s provisions and contingent liabilities related to the Fundão Dam collapse are also set out in BHP’s financial statements for the full year ended 30 June 2022. Given the status of the English Proceedings, it is not possible to provide a range of possible outcomes or a reliable estimate of potential future exposures to BHP in connection with these proceedings.
BHP will continue to defend the English Proceedings which it believes are unnecessary because they duplicate matters already covered by the existing and ongoing work of the Renova Foundation and legal proceedings in Brazil. All claimants have avenues in Brazil to resolve any potential claims including avenues established through the Brazilian Courts.
BHP Brasil remains fully committed to supporting the extensive ongoing remediation and compensation efforts in Brazil through the Renova Foundation. The Renova Foundation has spent R$28.1 billion (approximately US$5.9 billion) on comprehensive remediation and compensation programs to 31 December 2022. This includes over R$13.5 billion (over US$2.6 billion) paid in indemnities and emergency financial assistance to approximately 410,000 people. In addition, approximately 70% of the resettlement cases for the communities impacted by the Fundão Dam collapse have been completed.