Wherever it goes, BHP leaves a trail of harm. It drains, poisons or diverts the water. It fails to put things right where it has done wrong. It’s time for BHP to listen to the voices of those they’re harming.

We’re marking BHP’s 2020 AGM with a Call to Action for our friends and supporters. BHP portrays itself as a modern, responsible and sustainable company and one that holds the keys to combating the climate crisis. It’s an attractive narrative, and one that definitely appeals to investors. However, it’s one that only makes sense if you ignore the voices of mining-affected communities and refuse to look at BHP’s track record around the world.

We’re asking you to make sure that BHP can’t ignore these voices anymore. On 15 October, when BHP is holding its London AGM, help us to amplify the stories of people who feel the effects of BHP’s operations every day – call or write to BHP and tell them it’s time to listen.

On this page, you’ll find advice on how to get in touch with BHP, sample messages to send and more information on areas of key concern around the world. Be sure to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages in the build-up to the AGM, where we’ll be sharing stories of BHP and the Water of Life.

Contacting BHP

Email BHP

To send your message to BHP, go to the ‘contact us‘ page on the BHP website. Scroll down and follow the steps below…

When asked what you’re enquiring about, we suggest either ticking the ‘Investors/Shareholders’ box or the ‘Sustainability’ box.

In the ‘Subject’ box, pick ‘other’ from the dropdown menu. You can copy and paste the subject line from one of our suggested messages below.

You can copy and paste one of our suggested messages or write your own. Then fill in the name and email section, tick the ‘Terms and Conditions’ box and press the ‘Send Enquiry’ button.

Call BHP

If you want to call BHP, you can reach their London office on 020 7802 4000. If you are calling from outside the UK, you’ll need to add the country code 44.

You can use our suggested messages below as a script.

Suggested Messages

Will you clean up your act?

Dear BHP,

I have recently been reading about your track record in various countries around the world in which your company has either ceased mining operations or borne some responsibility for a mining related disaster. I now feel that your rhetoric as a responsible mining company with a commitment to sustainability just doesn’t match the reality of your actions.

After the collapse of the Fundão tailings dam in 2015, you entered into a Framework Agreement to implement remediation and compensatory programmes to restore the environment and re-establish affected communities. Five years on from the disaster, not one of the 355 planned new dwelling has been completed. Surely, with the backing of the world’s largest mining company, whatever logistical issues exist should be surmountable?

Further to the issue of housing, BHP has claimed that results from water and sediment quality, aquatic habitat and fish surveys demonstrate that the river ecology downstream of the Candonga reservoir and along the coast has recovered from any tailings-related impacts. Since the long term scientific studies that would show this are still in progress, how can the company make these claims? What evidence is there for them?

Given the past behaviour of the company in Papua New Guinea with the Ok Tedi mine, in Colombia with Cerro Matoso and in Borneo with IndoMet coal, what assurance do we have that Brazil will not be another case of BHP ignoring its responsibilities? In each of the above, the company has either hidden behind a subsidiary company or simply sold its shares and walked away from the damage done.

If the public and potential shareholders are to take BHP’s claims to sustainability and to ‘building a better world’ seriously, then these issues must be addressed. How can we be encouraged to look to the future when the recent past has so many unresolved issues?

Thank you for your time,

Respecting Indigenous Rights


According to your website (https://www.bhp.com/sustainability/community/indigenous-peoples), “Indigenous peoples are critical partners and stakeholders for BHP”. On this page, you outline your commitments to meaningful engagement and to contributing to the realisation of the rights of Indigenous peoples. These are fine and noble commitments to make, but I fail to see how many of your recent actions and future plans meet them.

For example, the Resolution Copper Mine that BHP and Rio Tinto plan to build in Arizona cannot be constructed without the destruction of the Oak Flats. As both companies well know, this site is sacred to Indigenous Apache people, who call it Chí’chil Biłdagoteel. How do BHP’s denials that the site is culturally significant to local tribes fit with building meaningful engagement? How does the destruction of their sacred site contribute to the realisation of their rights?

It is striking that after Rio Tinto destroyed the Juukan Gorge Rock Shelters in Western Australia earlier this year it promised “to rebuild Rio Tinto’s reputation for cultural heritage management”. Similarly, BHP stated that “in order to properly address cultural heritage matters when making land-use decisions, it is necessary to take into account the views of the traditional owners of the lands where that cultural heritage is located.” This is contrary to its dealings in Arizona where the company is moving full speed ahead with plans to destroy Chí’chil Biłdagoteel.

On the subject of the destruction of Juukan Gorge, why has BHP ignored the concerns of Aboriginal groups and pushed ahead with obtaining permission to destroy similar sites in Western Australia? Is the expansion of your South Flank iron ore project more important than the cultural heritage of the Indigenous people you claim to include as ‘critical partners’?

BHP cannot expect people to take it seriously as a responsible, respectful company until it starts to meet the commitments it has already made.

The importance of water

To the offices of BHP,

Your website makes it very clear that the responsible use of water is a key part of your sustainability commitments. It seems puzzling then, that so many of your mining operations across the world have such a troubled recent history with water use.

You own 1/3 of the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia but did not stop the Cerrejon company from diverting the Arroyo Bruno. The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled against it, it’s caused water shortages to local Indigenous people. To quote your website:

“BHP’s vision is for a water secure world by 2030… where the human right to safe and accessible water and the traditional rights of Indigenous peoples are realised and upheld”

How have your actions (or perhaps inaction) in Colombia met this vision? Further to this, your Cerro Colorado project in Chile used almost triple its water allowance last year. How is this “effective and beneficial” water management?

Even in cases where your operations can calim good water usage, there are still many questions. In Peru for example, the Antamina mine claims to run on rainharvested water and to recycle 99% of the water it uses. Why then does the mine have 10 separate resolutions giving it rights to drain local freshwater sources? What is this water being used for and at what rates? The lack of transparancy is very suspect.

It seems as though BHP publicly recognise the importance of water, but in practice find it more profitable to ignore and exploit its value.

More Information

Samarco dam disaster, Brazil

In November 2015, the collapse of the Fundão tailings dam in Minas Gerais, Brazil, led to 45 million
cubic metres of mining waste spilling into the Rio Doce and its tributaries. This dam was owned by
the Samarco mining company which is a joint venture of BHP and Vale. Its collapse resulted in 20
people being killed, the degradation of 637 kilometres of the river basin and the destruction of the
settlements of Bento Rodrigues, Paracatu de Baixo and Gesteira. The degradation of the river basin
has generated knock-on effects in the water-supply, agriculture, fishing and tourism, and thus in turn
on household livelihoods, social life and health. Many people who depended on the river for their
livelihood consider the river to be dead, while it is estimated that restoration of the basin of the Rio
Doce will take decades. BHP is also facing multiple lawsuits because of this catastrophic dam

Read more in our “BHP: Fine Words, Foul Play” briefing or see the following:

Escondida and Cerro Colorado, Chile

BHP has two major mines in Chile, the Escondida mine and Pampa Norte. Pampa Norte consists of
two wholly owned operations: Spence and Cerro Colorado. Both mines are in the Atacama Desert
and both have severely depleted local water resources at a time when Chile is experiencing a
megadrought. The Escondida mine is the world’s largest copper mine and is majority owned by
BHP. According to Lucio Cuenca, Director of OLCA (Observatorio Lationamericano de Conflictos
Ambientales, or Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts), not only does it use vast
amounts of water, it also wastes over three times as much water as any other BHP operation.
Meanwhile, the Cerro Colorado mine was found to extract almost three times as much water as it
was authorised to
. This has resulted in damage to lakes and wetlands that cannot easily be
reversed, while many people whose livelihoods depend on the land have been forced to move to
urban areas.

Read more in our “BHP: Fine Words, Foul Play” briefing or see the following:

Cerrejón Coal, Colombia

BHP bought into the massive opencast Cerrejón Coal mine in 2000 as part of a consortium with
Anglo American and Glencore. The consortium took complete control of the mine in February 2002.
Cerrejón already had a history of forced displacement of small farming and herding indigenous
Wayuu and African descent communities in the arid region of La Guajira in northern Colombia. It
has so far failed to address adequately the needs of communities forced off their land before that
time. Since the consortium took over, it has begun to negotiate with communities and relocate whole
villages to new sites, but the relocation areas are semi-urban, with inadequate land for agricultural
livelihoods. Older people have sunken into depression at the loss of their rural way of life . Many of
the alternative economic projects set up with Cerrejón funding have failed, leaving people without
adequate incomes.

Read more in our “BHP: Fine Words, Foul Play” briefing or see the following:

Antamina, Peru

Antamina is now the seventh largest mining operation in the world based on the extraction of copper
and zinc, accounting for 2% of all copper produced in the world. BHP Billiton is 33.75% shareholder
through RALCayman Inc. Antamina is currently in the expansion phase preparing the extension of
the mine until 2036.

Read more in our “BHP: Fine Words, Foul Play” briefing or see the following:

Resolution Copper, USA

In the United States, in the face of decades of legitimate Indigenous opposition, BHP is the minority
owner (45%, along with Rio Tinto 55%) of Resolution Copper, which is proposing a large copper
mine near Superior, Arizona. The proposed mine would destroy the religious and sacred place
known as Oak Flat, including a public campground and thousands of additional acres of public land.

Read more in our “BHP: Fine Words, Foul Play” briefing or see the following:

Legacy Issues

For information on BHP’s legacy issues in Papua New Guinea and Borneo, see our report: “Cut and Run: How Britain’s top two mining companies have wrecked ecosystems without being held to account”

What Next?

Want to take more action on BHP? Here are some actions from friends and supporters of LMN that you can support:

ABColombia – Prevent Human Rights Abuses at Cerrejon

Our friends at ABColombia recently held an event, How do Mining Companies Silence and Nullify the Actions of Indigenous Peoples to Protect their Rights. To follow up they are asking people to write to their MP urging the UK government to do more to ensure that UK based companies adhere to environmental and human rights standards. See more and find a template letter here.

LabourStart – Support miners striking against the ‘death shift’ at Cerrejón

In partnership with Sintracarbón and IndustriALL, LabourStart are asking people to write to Cerrejon coal in support of the striking Sintracarbon workers. More details and a contact form are on their site.

War on Want – Protect Indigenous Lands from Dirty Coal

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment has called on the Colombian government and company owners to partially suspend the operations of the Cerrejón Coal mine because of the damage being caused to the environment and the health of Indigenous Wayuu people living near it.

Take action: Call for a halt to coal mining near Indigenous Wayuu territories!