BHP class action

On 31 August 2018 Maurice Blackburn filed a class action on behalf of shareholders of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and BHP Billiton Plc (listed on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges) who suffered losses due to the share price fall following the Fundão Dam collapse on 5 November 2015.

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The class action covers eligible shareholders who entered into a contract to acquire an interest in ordinary shares on any of the three above mentioned stock exchanges between 8 August 2012 and 9 November 2015 inclusive.

Maurice Blackburn is Australia's leading class action law firm, and the only Australian law firm to have obtained settlements in excess of $100 million in shareholder and listed securities class actions — an achievement we have accomplished seven times now.

Case Developments

On 19 July 2019, the Full Court made orders consolidating our proceeding and another competing proceeding. The consolidated proceeding is known as Vince Impiombato, and Klemweb Nominees Pty Ltd as trustee for the Klemweb Superannuation Fund v BHP Group Ltd (VID649/2018) (Consolidated Proceeding).

The consolidation means that the class action will now be conducted by both Maurice Blackburn and another firm, acting jointly pursuant to an agreed cooperation protocol. Both Klemweb and Impiombato will continue to act in their representative capacity.

As a result of the joint proposal reached between the applicants, the maximum percentage payable out of any resolution sum for funding and legal costs has reduced, meaning a greater minimum percentage from any resolution sum will be available for group members in a successful outcome.

Maurice Blackburn will continue to act on a no-win no-fee basis in the Consolidated Proceeding. Our professional fees will be 100% deferred and will only be paid to us in the event of a successful outcome.

The litigation funder, which previously provided funding for the other competing proceeding, has agreed to partly fund the Consolidated Proceeding. In consideration for the funding, the litigation funder is entitled to a funding fee in the form of a commission on monies recovered in the proceeding.

The Court has made common fund orders which bind all eligible group members in the Consolidated Proceeding, regardless of whether they have entered into a funding agreement with the litigation funder or retained Maurice Blackburn or the other firm of solicitors. This means that all group members who ultimately participate in the class action will contribute in equal proportion to the costs of running the proceeding.

Please note that group members do not have to pay anything to the lawyers or the litigation funder unless and until there is a successful outcome in the Consolidated Proceeding. In the event of a successful outcome, any amounts due to the lawyers or litigation funder will be deducted from the monies recovered in the Consolidated Proceeding.

The consolidation and common fund orders, which provide for costs including the funding fee, are downloadable here.

What is the claim about?

The Germano mine complex in Minas Gerais, Brazil is operated by Samarco Mineração S.A, a joint venture between BHP Ltd and Vale S.A.

On 5 November 2015, the Fundão tailings dam at the Germano mine collapsed and released a mudflow that killed 19 people and caused catastrophic damage to downstream communities and the environment.

The dam collapse is considered one of the largest environmental disasters to have ever occurred in Brazil. It released approximately 50 million tonnes of mining waste which travelled some 600 kilometres to the Atlantic Ocean, causing extensive damage as it went.

BHP is one of Australia’s largest ASX-listed companies. Following the dam collapse, BHP’s share price plunged approximately 20% between 6 November 2015 and 30 November 2015.

The class action alleges that BHP failed to comply with its continuous disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the ASX Listing Rules and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

Contact us

For any queries regarding the class action please call 1800 931 970 (Toll Free AU) or email us at BHPclassaction@mauriceblackburn.com.au.