abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

26 Aug 2019

Leigh Day

Zambia: International law firm, Leigh Day prepares a class action case against Anglo American Ltd on behalf of Zambian communities living near Kabwe mine and suffering from lead exposure

‘Zambian lead poisoning victims prepare to launch class action against Anglo American South Africa’ 23 August 2019

Kabwe was the world’s largest lead mine and operated from around 1915 until its closure in 1994. From 1925 to 1974, its most productive period, the mine was owned and operated and/or managed by Anglo American South Africa Ltd. The mine is situated in close proximity to villages comprising around 230,000 residents. Tens of thousands of Kabwe residents are estimated to have developed high blood lead levels, mainly through ingestion of dust contaminated by emissions from the mine smelter and waste dumps. A series of published reports has found very high levels of lead in the blood of a substantial proportion of the local population, in particular very young children.

Johannesburg attorneys, Mbuyisa Moleele, in collaboration with London-based human rights law firm, Leigh Day, have been investigating the case and liaising with the local communities for the past two years. They have so far been instructed on behalf of almost 200 children who have been treated for lead poisoning. They are preparing the class action in South Africa and an application to certify a class action will be filed in the Johannesburg High Court. The purpose of the action will be to secure compensation for victims of lead poisoning, including the cost of an effective medical monitoring system for blood lead levels among the community.      

…“This is the worst environmental disaster I have seen in 30 years of practice.  There is incontrovertible evidence of massive lead contamination of soil in local villages and of staggeringly high levels of lead in the blood of a substantial proportion of the local population in Kabwe, particularly among very young children. This would not have been tolerated in Europe or the US. As a major multinational that holds itself out as a responsible corporate citizen, we believe Anglo American should compensate the lead poisoning victims and assist, practically and financially in the prevention of ongoing lead poisoning of these communities.”    


Part of the following timelines

Zambia: Lead poisoning having disastrous effects on children’s heath; HRW report

Class action lawsuit against Anglo American South Africa Ltd (re lead poisoning, Zambia)