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South African Miners Seek to Reduce Their Liability for Sick Ex-Workers

A South African court will today consider whether mining companies should cover a 610-million rand ($87 million) shortfall in a fund which compensates miners suffering from lung diseases due to their work. South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, which represents most mining companies operating in the country, said it would be “unlawful” for some companies to be made to pay for past employees, according to a statement e-mailed yesterday…Many former South African mineworkers suffer from diseases such as silicosis because of their exposure to dust in the world’s deepest gold mines. Companies that operate gold mines in the country include AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Co. and Gold Fields Ltd.

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