Dams: Safety

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart Conservative, Brentwood and Ongar

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church of England has had with the mining sector on improving the safety of tailings dams after the collapse of Vale dam in Brazil.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Chair, Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee

The Church Commissioners have been closely engaged in holding the mining company responsible for the collapse of the Vale dam in Brumadinho, Brazil to account. The Commissioners hosted a roundtable meeting with other investors and senior management from a number of the largest mining companies, at which it became clear that there was a major industry-wide issue with the safety and monitoring of these dams.

Following demands from the investor’s group, on the 19th March, the Chief Executive of BHP agreed to the need for “a common, international and independent body to oversee the integrity, construction and the operation of all dams and supported the call for increased transparency in tailings dams disclosure.” The Commissioners welcome the lead taken by BHP, and the investor’s group will continue to hold the mining sector to account.

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