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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.

Am I eligible to join the class action?

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.

Find out more about the registration process, retainer costs and cooling off period. 

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.

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.

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Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.

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