Church Commissioners Written Answer: mining companies, dam safety

On 1st April 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question on discussions with mining companies over dam safety:

Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar): 238387 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.

Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church Commissioners have been closely engaged in holding to account the mining company responsible for the collapse of the Vale dam in Brumadinho, Brazil. 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 investors 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.