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22 Sep 2015

Sheree Bega, Saturday Star (So. Africa)

So. Africa: Miners suffering from silicosis seek to hold mining companies legally accountable

"David versus Goliath battle over silicosis", 19 Sep 2015

…As the first claimant in a historic case, Nkala is hoping to gain justice from leading mining companies for “allegedly knowingly harming” workers who, from 1965, contracted fatal lung diseases because of their exposure to silica dust. In Bongani Nkala versus Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited & Others, he is one of 69 former miners suing the 32 companies spanning the gold mining industry…On October 12, after a four year wait, the South Gauteng High Court is finally set to hear arguments regarding the certification of the class, which is the first step in this action. Their case has the potential to achieve justice for as many as 200 000 former goldmine workers “who have never before had a voice” because they are too impoverished and sick to access justice…The lawyers contend that the dust monitoring, dust prevention and dust protection methods on the mines were “inadequate or ineffective”… Harmony contends that such a class action…is “utterly unworkable”…African Rainbow Minerals says: “The scale of the classes… is enormous and will give rise to litigation that will… last for a number of years.”…[Also refers to AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields]