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Justiça Ambiental vs BHP Billiton

Case overview

Date filed 18 October 2010
Current status Concluded
Issue Concerns around BHP Billiton's Mozal bypass in Mozambique
Summary of the case JA! and a coalition of Mozambican NGOs filed a complaint against BHP Billiton regarding its intention to operate its Mozal aluminium smelter under a bypass authorised by the Mozambican Ministry for Environmental Coordination. The bypass would allow the smelter to operate without exhaust filters for a period of 6 months. The company claims the bypass is necessary to upgrade the facility in order to comply with legally required standards.

However, the complainants are concerned with the environmental implications and serious impacts on human health the bypass would involve. The complainants made several unsuccessful attempts to resolve the issue directly with the company. With the OECD Guidelines complaint the complainants hope to open an avenue for mediation and discussing the issue with the company. The bypass was supposed to go into effect on 1 November 2010, but a local court case has put it on hold.
Developments/Outcome The Australian and UK NCPs agreed that the UK NCP would take the lead in handling the complaint. In February 2011, the UK NCP accepted the complaint. However, after consultation with the parties, the NCP decided to suspend the specific instance to first allow for mediation by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Banks International Financial Corporation (IFC). After several meetings and attempts to reach an agreement between the parties facilitated by the CAO, the case there was closed without an agreement.

As a result, the UK NCP re-initiated its own process in November 2011 and offered mediation to the parties. After JA! declined the offer for mediation the UK NCP announced it would proceed with making an examination of the allegations.

In September 2012, the UK NCP concluded the case with a final statement determining that BHP Billiton had not breached the 2000 version of the OECD Guidelines. However, the NCP encouraged both BHP Billiton and Mozal SARL to improve procedures for engagement with local communities and be more forthcoming in disclosing information related to the smelters impacts on the environment and the health and safety of adjacent communities.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Health and safety, Environment, Parallel (legal) proceedings, Multiple NCPs

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point United Kingdom
NCP address 1 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET London, United Kingdom
NCP website www.berr.gov.uk
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible BHP Billiton
Company address Lonsdale Street 180
Victoria 3000 Melbourne
Australia
Company website http://www.bhpbilliton.com
Company in violation BHP Billiton
Country of operations Mozambique
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
13 September 2012 National Contact Point United Kingdom statement The UK NCP issues final statement on the case download pdf (245Kb)  
1 December 2011 National Contact Point United Kingdom report Conclusion report CAO procedure download pdf (123Kb)  
2 February 2011 National Contact Point United Kingdom accept UK NCP accepts complaint download pdf (48Kb)  
1 December 2010 National Contact Point Australia letter Australian NCP transfers case to UK NCP. download pdf (14Kb)  
1 October 2010 Justiça Ambiental file Case filed at Australian and UK NCP download pdf (176Kb)  

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