South African gold mining firms plan to appeal against a High Court ruling that allowed class action suits seeking damages for up to half a million miners who contracted the fatal lung disease silicosis and tuberculosis, they said on Friday.
A High Court decision last month set the stage for protracted proceedings covering cases dating back decades in the largest class action suits yet in Africa’s most industrialized country.
Anglo American, Africa’s top gold producer AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold and African Rainbow Minerals, have formed the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) group to deal with such issues.
The group confirmed that the companies had filed individual applications to appeal the class certification judgment handed down on May 13, adding that the firms have been seeking a settlement with the affected workers.
“Whilst the companies deny liability for the claims, it is nonetheless the working group’s view that a fair and sustainable settlement is preferable to long and protracted litigation,” the OLD said in a statement, adding that the discussions have been going for more than a year.
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