Loading...
See More

Miners may face SA's largest damages case

Aug 21 2012 13:30 Reuters

Company Data

GOLD FIELDS LIMITED [JSE:GFI]

Last traded 0
Change -0,69
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 1803024
Market cap 35.66bn

Last Updated: 19-09-2014 at 04:26. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

HARMONY GOLD MINING COMPANY LIMITED [JSE:HAR]

Last traded 0
Change -0,45
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 820151
Market cap 11.48bn

Last Updated: 19-09-2014 at 04:25. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LIMITED [JSE:ANG]

Last traded 0
Change -1,08
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 509902
Market cap 58.48bn

Last Updated: 19-09-2014 at 04:26. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

Related Articles

Gold miners slapped with lawsuit

Miner with silicosis to attend Anglo AGM

SA mining's tragic legacy

SA miners may face huge class action case

Miners denied silicosis checks - lawyer

What is silicosis?

 

Cape Town - South Africa's leading gold miners are facing a potential lawsuit on behalf of thousands of workers who claim they contracted silicosis, a lung disease, through the companies' negligence.    

A South African lawyer filed the first papers on Tuesday against AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG], Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] and Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR], in a preliminary step to determine whether the court recognises the case as a class action.

“If the certification is granted we anticipate that this may be the largest damages suit in the history of this country, in the tens of billions of rand possibly,” lawyer Charles Abrahams, who represents more than 3 000 mostly former miners, said.

The mining companies had declined to comment in detail ahead of the filing. A spokesperson for Gold Fields said on Tuesday he would not comment, while officials at the other two firms were not immediately available.

The suit, which has little precedent in South African law, has its roots in a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court a year ago that for the first time allowed lung-diseased miners to sue their employers for damages.

Silicosis is a disease that causes shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest pains and makes people highly susceptible to tuberculosis, which kills. It has no known cure.

Abrahams said the claim was separate, but similar, to that of fellow lawyer, Richard Spoor, who represents several thousand more claimants. In March, Spoor said he would soon file his class action papers against the same mining companies cited by Abrahams.

The two cases could eventually be joined, said Abrahams.

Graham Briggs, the chief executive of Harmony, told Reuters earlier this year, the issue of silicosis was “a big topic” but he did not think it “class action material”.

Different conditions prevailed at different times in different mines, he said, and workers may have had more than one employer.

A successful suit could collectively cost mining companies billions of dollars, according to legal and industry experts.

The largest settlement to date by the mining industry in South Africa was $100m in 2003 in a case brought by Spoor against an asbestos company.  



* Follow Fin24 on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
silicosis  |  mining
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

New forms of digital technology are changing the very ways in which entrepreneurs run their businesses.
 
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...