Samarco

BHP Billiton executives faced dissident shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Brisbane on November 17 over its responsibility for the Samarco tailings dam disaster in Brazil last year.

The protesters want Australia’s biggest company to compensate the victims. BHP jointly owns the iron ore mine with Brazilian mining giant, Vale.

The dam took just half-an-hour to entomb half the village of Bento Rodrigues in 18 metres of iron-ore tailings, reddish mud and water slurry. A “mountain tsunami” is how firefighters in Mariana, in Minas Gerais in south-eastern Brazil, described the bursting of mining company Samarco Santarem’s iron-ore tailings dam on November 5. Marcos de Eufrasio, a 38-year-old stonemason who was cutting rock on that sunny afternoon, said that, from nowhere, he heard a “mighty roar”.
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