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27 Jan 2013

Susan Njanji, AFP

Silicosis suit could shutter [South Africa's] gold mines

Already buckling under huge operational costs and seemingly endless labour unrest, some 30 gold mine operators were last month slapped with litigation by thousands of their former employees. The plaintiffs—mostly black migrant labourers…—allegedly contracted the lung disease while drilling gold bearing rocks. Already theirs is the biggest class action in South Africa's legal history…If the miners are successful, it could cost the industry millions of dollars, but mining experts warn it could also cost jobs…[S]ome of the larger operators, already facing a few cases brought by smaller groups of miners, are not taking the latest case lightly.

Part of the following timelines

So. Africa: Experts warn class action lawsuit filed by ex-gold miners could have major impact on viability of gold mining industry

Gold miner silicosis litigation (re So. Africa)