Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Brazilian Dam Disaster Consequences Pile the Pressure on BHP

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Brazilian Dam Disaster Consequences Pile the Pressure on BHP

Article excerpt

Byline: Angela Jameson

BHP Billiton has confirmed 17 people died when two dams burst at its Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil on November 5.

The catastrophe has turned into one of the world's worst environmental disasters. Besides the deaths, hundreds of people have been left homeless and an 800km-long river that crosses two states has been polluted.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant, which owns the Samarco mine in a 50-50 joint venture with Brazilian mining company Vale, says it is working with the Brazilian authorities to rehouse people and give out living-wage debit cards to those affected.

The Samarco partners are facing a $6.9 billion fine over the dam and have been ordered by a federal judge to put $2.7 billion into a court-managed account in the next 30 days.

The court has also placed restrictions on the trading or sale of mining concessions in Samarco and demanded the partners stop leakage of waste from the Fundao tailings dam, engage a consultant to evaluate contamination of fish and implement pest control, remove mud from the Rio Doce banks, adopt measures to prevent sludge from reaching the lagoon and present a comprehensive plan for environmental and socio-economic recovery. …

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