(Adds comment from claimants, details)
By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - A 5.0 billion pound ($6.6 billion) English lawsuit against Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP BHPB.L BHP.AX has been blocked, in a blow to a 200,000-strong Brazilian claimant group, seeking damages after a devastating dam failure in 2015.
A High Court judge in Manchester, northwestern England, struck out the largest group claim in English legal history because the complex case was an "abuse of the process of the court", a judgment published on Monday said.
Tom Goodhead, a partner at law firm PGMBM, which is representing the claimants, called the judgment "fundamentally flawed" and pledged to appeal.
BHP, the world's largest miner by market value, clashed with claimants during an eight-day jurisdiction hearing in July in the latest battle to establish whether multinationals can be held liable for the conduct of subsidiaries abroad.
The judge's decision comes about 18 months after the United Kingdom's Supreme Court ruled that nearly 2,000 Zambian villagers could sue miner Vedanta in England for alleged pollution in Africa because substantial justice was not obtainable in Zambia.
The collapse of the Fundao tailings dam, which stored mining waste and is owned by the Samarco joint venture between BHP and Brazilian iron ore mining giant Vale VALE3.SA , killed 19 and sent a torrent of red mud into communities and the Doce river that reached the Altantic Ocean, 650kms away.
Despite a more deadly dam rupture in 2019, that killed about 270 in nearby Brumadinho, the Fundao dam disaster in Brazil's "iron quadrangle" in southeastern Minas Gerais state ranks as the country's worst environmental disaster.
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.