UK court denies BHP appeal in Brazil’s Mariana dam collapse case

bhp mariana case
Detail of house hit by the mud of the Samarco dam in Bento Rodrigues, in the city of Mariana. Photo: A. M. Teixeira/Shutterstock

Anglo-Australian mining company BHP has had an appeal to the British Supreme Court denied, said law firm Pogust Goodhead, which represents the more than 200,000 plaintiffs in the case of the 2015 Mariana dam collapse. 

Alongside Brazil’s Vale, BHP is the parent company of Samarco, owner of a tailings dam in the state of Minas Gerais that collapsed in 2015 due to safety failures, killing 19 people and devastating entire ecosystems in southeastern Brazil.

In July of this year, the British Court of Appeal unanimously confirmed that the UK justice system had jurisdiction to hear the more than 200,000 victims of Brazil’s worst environmental disaster, making it the largest collective claim in British legal history.

The claimants, which include representatives from indigenous Krenak communities, 25 municipalities, more than 500 companies, and the Catholic Church, are seeking at least GBP 5 billion (USD 5.76 billion) in compensation.

The court ordered BHP to present its defense. The company, however, has one last chance to appeal to the Supreme Court. In a statement, BHP said it “will ask the British Supreme Court for permission to appeal and will continue its defense in the case.” The company claims the plaintiffs’ demands have been covered by decisions taken in the Brazilian courts.