Church of England and investors totalling £3/$3.8 trillion AUM welcome statement by BHP regarding tailings dams safety


Church of England and investors totalling £3 trillion AUM welcomed today’s statement by BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie that backs investors’ call on tailings dam safety. His statement was made today as BHP released its interim results.

The statement follows on from a previous joint call issued by the Church of England Pensions Board, Church Commissioners for England, Sweden’s Public Pension Funds and funds now representing over £3/$3.8 trillion in assets under management calling for a global independent public classification system and corresponding independent and public audits that monitor the safety risk of mining company tailings dams. The call was made by investors on 31 January following the tragic failing of the Vale dam in Brumadinho, Brazil.

The call by investors is now supported by funds with £3/$3.8 trillion in AUM having since its launch grown from £1 trillion.

BHP said the industry had to redouble its efforts to make sure there was no repeat of last month’s disaster at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine. BHP welcomed 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.

Adam Matthews, Director of Ethics and Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board said, “I welcome the statement from BHP’s Chief Executive and recognition that events such as in Brazil cannot happen. Communities, workers, banks and investors need the assurance that best practice will become the new minimum requirement across the mining sector. Independence and transparency will be key to re-establishing trust and as investors we look forward to playing our part in working with global experts and industry in advancing the call we have made.

John Howchin, Secretary General of the Swedish Ethics Council (For Swedish Public Pension Funds AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4). “I am very pleased to see BHP take leadership on this issue. We now need that leadership across the rest of the sector.”

Investors are convening a high level meeting in London on the 4th April under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop David Urquhart, with leading global experts as well as senior industry representatives to advance the call that has been made.