ONE Australian is among 22 people charged by Brazilian authorities in relation to the burst dam at the Samarco iron ore mine, which caused the death of 19 people.
Brazilian prosecutors have claimed that executives at mine, which was owned by BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) and Vale, knew that the dam was in danger of breaking, though the companies dispute this.
"BHP Billiton Brasil rejects outright the charges against the company and the affected individuals," says the company in a statement.
"We will defend the charges against the company, and fully support each of the affected individuals in their defence of the charges against them."
Of the 22, 21 have been charged with qualified homicide.
As well as the Australian, there are 16 Brazilians, two Americans, a South African and a French citizen facing charges.
They could face sentences up to 54 years in jail.
Before the case goes to trial, a judge has to accept the charges put to him by the prosecutors.
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