BHP runs away from responsibilitiesInternational organisations and communities affected by mining giant BHP will not let them escape
Community representatives affected by the Mariana dam disaster stand outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, UK. Credit: Brazil Matters UK
Thursday 10 November 2022
BHP runs away from responsibilities
International organisations and communities affected by mining giant BHP will not let them escape
PERTH | Latin American communities have submitted questions to be asked at the 2022 BHP Annual General Meeting in Perth today, with the support of BHP Shareholders for Social Responsibility who have allocated proxies to Perth based environment groups.
When: Thursday 10 November – 10am
Where: Perth Convention Centre
What: Proxy shareholders will attend the BHP Annual General Meeting to raise a series of questions about environmental and social issues arising from BHPs operations in Latin America.
The questions will cover:
- The ongoing issues in Brazil following the catastrophic tailings dam failure at the Samarco mine killed 19 people and destroyed 600 homes in the town of Bento Rodrigues and more downstream. The 7th anniversary of the dam collapse has just passed this week, the communities are still largely displaced many still have no home and have had no compensation and about 85% have left their community of origin. Currently, there is a court case lodged by 200,000 Brazilian plaintiffs who are seeking £5 billion in compensation.
- The irreparable damage from mass water extraction at BHPs Escondida copper mine in the Atacama Desert of Chile has severely impacted the Salar de Punta Negra ecosystem.
- Industrial relations issues and environmental contamination allegations from BHPs Antamina copper mine in Peru. The community has detailed concerns about the impact on water-dependent ecosystems through the over-extraction of water and through the contamination with heavy metals.
- The divestment from the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia has largely been seen as a strategic move to avoid rehabilitation responsibilities to the environment and the displaced communities who suffered forced evictions over decades.
Members of the communities in these areas have provided quotes for the Australian media. Images available with credits here
Chile: “The Atacameño people or the Licakan-antay, which in the Kunza language means ‘the inhabitants of the territory’, used the edges of the Punta Negra salt flat as grazing sites because “there was abundant water” today there is nothing.” – Francisco Mundaca, Atacameños People Council
Perú: “We believe that the hydrogeological study carried out by BHP’s Antamina mining company is insufficient and even inconsistent. The study does not delve into the true impacts that would occur on surface and groundwater.” – Jaime Borda, Red Muqui
Brazil: “There is no tailings management plan in the affected areas. Families are forced to live with the toxic mud on their land and in the water sources that are still available.” – Larissa Santos, Caritas Brazil
For media comment from the BHP AGM in Perth
Mineral Policy Institute
(+61) 0415 380 808
For background, context and to connect to communities
Natalie Lowrey, Aid/Watch
(+61) 0421226200 campaign[at]aidwatch.org.au
Javiera Martinez H.
Latin America Co-ordinator, London Mining Network
(+44) 7717466306 latinamerica[at]londonminingnetwork.org