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Silicosis claims and the gold mines: To settle or not?
Author: Sarah Evans, Mail & Guardian (So. Africa), Published on: 1 October 2013
In [coming]…weeks…Johannesburg [‘s high court] will decide whether to collate three class action claims against 30 of South Africa's gold mines…The [legal] teams estimate that, if the application…is successful, "conservatively" between 100 000 and 200 000 miners could be involved…Separately, at least 60 individual silicosis claims are pending against large gold mining companies…A lawyer close to the class action suit [says]…the mining industry cannot afford to lose…one…individual case – a ruling in open court would set a precedent for the silicosis litigation that would cost it billions…This leaves the industry with a conundrum: to defend itself in each of the individual claims and risk the snow-ball effect…if it loses, or capitulate and settle these cases before they get to court...[Refers to African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold]