Mining giant BHP has agreed to settle a US class action claim relating to the Samarco dam failure of 2015, which triggered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster, and agreed to pay the plaintiffs $US50 million ($67.3 million).
The agreement comes with no admission of liability. It remains subject to approval by a US court. Melbourne-based lawyers acting for BHP investors in an Australian class action against the miner over the dam failure are watching the US legal developments with interest.
Brett Spiegel, a lawyer for the Melbourne-based law firm Phi, Finney, McDonald which filed the Australian class action in May in the Federal Court, welcomed the news from the US.
“We are pleased to hear the result of the US class action against BHP. We believe that it vindicates our view that BHP failed to make proper disclosure to shareholders of the risk of the dam’s collapse and that they engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in regards to their statements about safety,” he said.
“The underlying issues in the US class action and the Australian class action are similar, although the number of shares and shareholders involved in the Australian proceeding is much greater,” he said.