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An open letter to the International Community & Australian Parliament on the ongoing crisis in Brazil

The violence not seen: social and environmental damage, institutional fragilities and reparation duty

We, the undersigned members of Brazilian civil society, appeal to the Australian parliament to recognise the social, environmental and technological disaster caused by the collapse of BHP/Vale Samarco dam that released polluted mining tailings and destroyed townships and livelihoods in Brazil.

The disaster that occurred in Brazil on 5 November 2015 in the town of Mariana, Minas Gerais, is ongoing.

The Samarco mining company, 50% owned by Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton[1] and 50% by Brazilian Vale S.A., has been exploring iron ore in Brazil since 1977. The tailings from this exploration were stored in 3 dams, namely: Fundao, Germano and Santarem. The collapse of Fundao, which contained contaminated tailings, triggered the biggest social and environmental catastrophe ever faced by Brazilian society.

The fear of imminent dam collapse was already widespread amongst the inhabitants of the surrounding community, as shown in the 2012 doctorate thesis of the Brazilian sociologist Viana.[2]  As the fears of this community became reality, it is estimated that 62 thousand million cubic metres of polluting mining debris – the equivalent of 25 thousand Olympic sized pools – was spilled, destroying and contaminating everything in its path. [3]

This disaster transformed affected people into victims in many ways, compromising health, causing loss of life, the destruction of property and contamination of land that forms the basis of social, cultural and economic life. The damage sprawled for over 850 km, directly affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Read the rest of this entry »

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ABC News
19 November 2013

Endangered orangutans may be imperilled by a new coal development. Credit: iStockphoto

Endangered orangutans may be imperilled by a new coal development.
Credit: iStockphoto

BHP Billiton has a massive coal mine planned for Central Kalimantan. But local environmental activists are worried about its impact on people and forests.

FROM MY HOME IN Central Kalimantan, a province on the southern side of Indonesian Borneo, I have observed the Australian coal boom. Recently I was in Australia to talk about environmental destruction in Kalimantan and I was surprised how few people know that Kalimantan is experiencing a similar rush to extract fossil fuels. I think its important for Australians to know more because of the connections between our countries in the global coal market and the environmental crisis it is producing. Read the rest of this entry »

The BHP AGM is on again this Thursday. If you’re in Sydney, come down to Darling Harbour and let the shareholders know how destructive their company really is. We’ve prepared an alternative annual report detailing BHP’s dirty deeds, and we’ll be making more noise than an open cast mine.

Download the 2012 Alternative Annual Report

BHP report 2012 (PDF 3.8MB)

Arabunna Elder, Kevin Buzzacot has been fighting hard for many years trying to protect his country from BHP Billiton’s large scale uranium mine in South Australia. In yet another David and Goliath story Uncle Kevin Buzzacott is taking the mining giant on in court. Read the rest of this entry »

DOWNLOAD BHP BILLITON ALTERNATIVE ANNUAL REPORT

Today at the annual general meeting for the largest mining company in the world, BHP Billiton, aboriginal elders and civil society representatives have attended to share their concerns.

Delegates included:

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott and Peter Watts (Arabunna), Richard Evans – Yeelirrie, Tomohiro Matsuoka – Japan for Peace, Mia Pepper – Conservation Council WA

Dave Sweeney – Australian Conservation Foundation, Donna Jackson – Larrakia nation, Mitch – Arrente and many others – including Christian Miller from Chile.

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott addressed supporters gathered saying, calling on the people of Melbourne to regularly visit BHP headquarters to keep them accountable.

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott is from Arabunna country, directly impacted by BHP Billiton’s uranium mining operations  has brought a ‘Notice of Trespass’ to be served on BHP.

40 supporters gathered to support over 20 delegates who entered the conference to share concerns about many aspects of BHP Operations across Australia, and worldwide.

Conference delegates were greeted by a massive 6 metre high inflatable nuclear waste barrel and were handed copies of a different style of report.

A collective of environment groups from across the country have today released BHP Billiton: Dirty Energy ‘Alternative Annual Report’.

VIDEOS FROM ACTION OUTSIDE BHP BILLITON”S ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, Melbourne, Australia

Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott was one of a number of traditional custodians who travelled to Melbourne to challenge the board of the world’s biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, over the despoiling of their country. Here he describes his reception at the AGM.
We hear first from Friends of the Earth anti-nuclear campaigner Tully McIntyre, who witnessed proceedings, and Japanese for Peace campaigner Tomohiro Matsuoka.

While traditional custodians and supporters holding proxies were inside the Melbourne Convention Centre challenging the board, other supporters held a protest outside, against the backdrop of a huge blow-up radioactive waste barrel:
hip-hop from Izzy and MC Ollie, satire from No Nukes Calamity Jane (aka Madeline Hudson), song from the Radical Choir, including a solo from Emily…

Once a year, the board of directors of the world’s largest mining company meet in London. Be there to…

CONFRONT BHP BILLITON
WHAT: The Annual General Meeting of BHP Billiton
WHERE: Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster
WHEN: Thursday Oct. 20, 10am

Plus, on Wednesday Oct. 19, there will be a public event with special guests to talk about BHPB’s operations around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

“It is a bit rich for former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus to talk about declining productivity growth when an analysis of the figures actually reveals that productivity in the non-mining sectors is growing quite rapidly. The irony is that it is the rapid decline in productivity in the mining industry that is driving down the national figures,” Richard Denniss, The Australian Institute.” Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday 8 June 2011
Greenpeace activists are currently obstructing a coal train at Mount Arthur coal mine owned by BHP Billiton – one of Australia’s most polluting companies – in the Hunter Valley. One activist – Erland Howden – has secured himself in a tiny box and is prepared to stay there for 72 hours. Read the rest of this entry »

With the recent catastrophic events in Japan, particularly the disaster at the Fukushima, uranium companies have seen dramatic drops in their share prices. BHP Billiton is re-considering their expansion of the Olympic Dam copper, uranium and gold mine in South Australia.

__________________________

Barry FitzGerald
Sydney Morning Herald
March 16 2011

AS THE struggle continues to bring the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant north of Tokyo back under control, BHP Billiton is weighing up a $30 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam copper, uranium and gold mine. Read the rest of this entry »

BHP Alternative Annual Reports 2009-2012

TWITTER: BHP Billiton Watch