BHP’s response to the failure of Samarco’s Fundão Dam in Brazil has been a complex technical and social undertaking which has demonstrated our commitment to ensure the full and fair remediation and compensation for the damages to the communities and environment that have been affected. Since the dam failed on 5 November 2015, BHP has been fully committed to doing the right thing in Brazil, prioritizing recovery efforts focused on the affected people. We have a team of technical experts based in Belo Horizonte who have supported both the crisis management immediately following the dam failure, and the longer term social and environmental recovery efforts.
The Renova Foundation, an independent organization created in August 2016 to manage the reparation process, has about 7,000 people working from Mariana municipality to the mouth of the Doce river. To August 2019, Renova has spent about US$1.75 billion in compensation and remediation measures and continues to operate in a complex environment and muiti-layered governance structure to ensure the solutions it puts in place are sustainable.
Progress has been slower than we would have liked, but these solutions cannot be developed and delivered in haste – the involvement of disparate groups of stakeholders, including the affected communities, means more buy in, but it also takes time. Four years after the failure of Samarco’s Fundão Dam, our colleagues from BHP Brazil discuss the work being done to compensate the affected people, rebuild communities and restore the environment. The work has been impressive, but a lot remains to be done and BHP is committed to continuing to do the right thing.