BHP and Vale, two mining giants, square off in court

Next week, two of the biggest mining companies in the world will face the High Court as part of a class action lawsuit that could result in fines of up to £36 billion. This is due to their involvement in a mine disaster which killed 19 people.

Anglo-Australian company BHP wants Brazilian company Vale as a co-defendant to a case filed by 700,000 claimants affected by the Fundao Dam collapse in 2015.

The Germano iron ore mining dam burst, causing a toxic sludge to flood the area. Samarco operated the mine, which was a joint-venture between BHP Vale.

Vale will contest BHP’s claim in London that they should split any fine.

Both companies were sued after the disaster, which was the largest in Brazilian history. BHP is facing a legal battle in London where it is listed.

Vale will be challenging BHP’s claim this week that they should split any fines in London.

BHP Brasil said: “BHP Brasil is continuing to work closely together with Samarco to support reparations and compensations for the Fundao dam collapse at Samarco.”

Vale has also been sued in Brazil over its role in this disaster.

Both companies created the Renova Foundation to pay reparations to the victims. BHP has set aside nearly £3 billion to cover the costs.

Pogust Goodhead, a firm that brought the class action against BHP said this amount was not enough. Instead, they claimed that £36 billion will be required to compensate individuals and municipalities as well as businesses, indigenous people, and businesses who were affected by the floods.

Tom Goodhead, chief executive, stated: “It’s a rather uninspiring spectacle to see two of the biggest mining companies in the World playing ping-pong across jurisdictions.” We said that the two companies should have gotten their heads together a long time before they started fighting in court.