Miner BHP faces £5bn claim over Brazil dam collapse

London (AFP) –


Global mining giant BHP Billiton faced Wednesday a £5.0 billion ($6.5 billion, 5.8 billion euros) claim for damages over a Brazilian dam collapse that killed 19 people in late 2015, sources said.

A lawyer for legal firm SPG, which represents 240,000 claimants, told AFP it is seeking £5.0 billion in damages from BHP in a claim lodged at Liverpool High Court.

The London-listed company confirmed the news in a brief statement, adding that they reject the charges.

"BHP notes the media reports today concerning the group claim in the United Kingdom in relation to the Samarco dam failure on 5 November 2015," it said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

"BHP confirms that BHP Group Limited and BHP Group Plc have been served with legal proceedings filed in the Business and Property Courts of Liverpool, England. BHP intends to defend the claim."

Samarco, a Brazilian joint venture co-owned by BHP and Brazil's Vale, suffered a deadly collapse of an iron ore tailings dam in the Minas Gerais region in November 2015.

The dam ruptured, killing 19 and polluting hundreds of kilometers of river, in what is considered the worst environmental disaster Brazil has ever seen.

Samarco has already agreed to a compensation payout of $2.3 billion.