Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: Brazil: On the 8th anniversary of the Mariana dam disaster, BHP has pledged to reach a financial settlement

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BHP’s vice-president for legal affairs for the Americas, Emir Calluf, told the Financial Times that it aimed to soon come to an agreement with public authorities in the South American nation. ‘The idea is to get a final deal in Brazil that settles everything,’ said Calluf, adding that negotiations were ‘pretty advanced’. ‘If the right conditions were there and the legal certainty and releases, we would be willing to do a deal by the end of the year.’ 

BHPVale and Samarco previously set up the Renova Foundation to compensate for loss and damages, which BHP says has spent over 32bn reais (USD 6.5bn) on remediation and compensation programmes since 2016. 

The rupture of the Fundão dam released 40mn cubic metres of tailings — byproducts left over from mining that can contain toxic substances — sparking increased scrutiny over the safety of such structures. This week experts published new studies assessing the tailing dams of the Mirador copper mine, the largest in Ecuador, concluding they are at risk of rupture and collapse. If they ruptured this could release a wave of toxic materials threatening the local environment and nearby Indigenous communities, who were not consulted about the construction of the mine or dams. Experts have compared this possible disaster to the Brumadinho disaster in Brazil in 2019. Due to this risk, experts are calling for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to intervene.  
The Mirador mine is owned by EcuaCorriente, a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies formed by China Railway Construction Copper Crown Investment and Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holdings Limited. EcuaCorriente was invited to comment on the study, it did not respond. 

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