UK High Court injunction: court rules against Brazil Iron

Announcements
Share:
UK High Court injunction: court rules against Brazil Iron

By

The High Court today ruled in favour of 80 residents from two quilombola indigenous communities who alleged that the UK registered mining companies Brazil Iron Limited and Brazil Iron Trading Limited had not complied with an injunction granted on 19 October 2023 to prevent harassment and intimidation of the claimants.

At that previous hearing, the claimants alleged that two Brazil Iron employees tried to coerce them into abandoning their claims.  

At the hearing today, the claimants alleged that letters sent directly to them, and not via their lawyers, after 3 November, contravened the terms of the injunction. 

Brazil Iron dispute that they have harassed or intimidated the claimants or that they had contravened the injunction. However, the court ruled that the letter that was sent to the claimants was “plainly one to which the order applied” and ordered the Defendants to pay the claimants’ legal costs. 

The claimants live in close proximity to the Fazenda Mocó iron ore mine in Bahia, Brazil, which is operated by the Brazilian subsidiary of the Defendant companies, Brazil Iron Mineração Limitada (“BIML”).  The claimants allege that the operations of the mine have caused environmental damage to their land, crops and water sources, physical damage to their properties, and that they have suffered disturbance from noise pollution and dust, including physical and psychological injuries. It is also alleged that by diverting a stream, the mine has deprived members of the community of water vital for irrigation of their crops.

Brazil Iron has conducted mining operations at the site since December 2011. During that time it has repeatedly exceeded the terms of the environmental authorisations under which it was permitted to conduct experimental mining, leading the environmental regulator to suspend mining activity in April 2022. 

The Secretariat of Health for the State of Bahia inspected the area in early 2021 and confirmed that due to the mining operations, the two communities were at risk of physical and mental illness and the drinking water in the area is not fit for human consumption. 

The claimants are represented by Richard Meeran, head of the international department and Jonny Buckley, senior associate at Leigh Day.

Richard Meeran said: “We are determined that our clients should secure redress for the negative impact that the operations of the mine have caused to their health, environment and quality of life. We are grateful for the Court’s protection of their path to access to justice."

By Josue Marinho, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55907133