Johannesburg - Former gold miners sick with silicosis will
go into arbitration next year with Anglo American [JSE:AGL] in a "test
case", their attorneys said on Monday.
The gold miners contended they contracted silicosis due to
excessive dust inhalation while working in a mine owned by Anglo American,
lawyer Richard Meeran said.
The case was brought by 18 miners in 2004.
Four have since died, three of them in the past two years.
The arbitration hearing would be presided over by a panel
comprising former chief justice of the Constitutional Court Sandile Ncobo and
two former Supreme Court of Appeal judges, Ian Farlam and Noel Hurt.
The hearing was scheduled to begin on September 2 next year
and would be open to the public.
Legal Resources Centre attorney Sayi Nindi said the
arbitration would be a test case, and involved only a handful of the possibly
thousands of miners affected.
"You could call our case a test case to establish the
liability to the mine," Nindi said.
Meeran said the matter could have repercussions beyond the
miners involved in the arbitration. He said it could cause Anglo American to
seek a settlement in other silicosis cases against the company.
"If it was held liable then I don't see any alternative
other than Anglo establishing a settlement scheme for all their former
The first testimony from some of the miners could be taken
at the end of the month, as some of them were in such poor health that they
might not be able to testify next year.
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