BHP has announced that it reached an agreement to settle the class action complaint filed in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of American Depositary Receipts of BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc between 25 September 2014 and 30 November 2015 in relation to the Samarco dam failure on 5 November 2015.
The Samrco iron ore joint venture (JV) between Vale SA and BHP experienced huge flooding and landslides on 5 November 2015 due to a failure of the Fundao tailings dam, leading to the deaths of 19 people and the destruction of surrounding communities and homes.
Under the terms of the agreement, BHP has agreed to pay the plaintiffs US$50 million, with no admission of liability. The agreement is subject to approval by the District Court.
As reported by The ASIA Miner, BHP is currently defending a similar class action lodged by investors in July with the Federal Court in Victoria (Austalia).
The Australian class action, led by law firm Phi Finney McDonald, alleges that BHP had violated its continuous disclosure obligations by failing to inform the market of the imminent risk of the failure of the dam and the likely catastrophic consequences.
On 25 June 2018, BHP announced that various parties had entered into a Governance Agreement which settles the BRL20 billion Civil Claim, enhances community participation in decisions related to the remediation and compensation programs under the Framework Agreement and establishes a process to renegotiate those Programs over two years and to progress settlement of the BRL155 billion Civil Claim.