Light at the end of the tunnel for silicosis victims – by Liesl Peyper (MiningMx – July 14, 2016)

IT has been a difficult year for the mining industry insofar as health and safety has been concerned, but the tide is turning for a large number of mineworkers and their families who are set to receive compensation for silicosis.

In March this year, some 4,365 claimants who sued Anglo American SA and AngloGold Ashanti for the lung diseases silicosis and silico-tuberculosis, reached a landmark settlement with the two mining companies.

In accordance with the settlement, a compensation amount of R454m will be paid to the Qhubeka Trust for distribution among the claimants who meet the criteria for payment. This was the first large-scale settlement of silicosis litigation in South Africa.

In a different case, the South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of mineworkers who intend on launching a silicosis class action against mining companies. There will be two classes – one for silicosis and another for tuberculosis.

On 13 May this year, the case was granted a class action certification which will make it the largest class action ever to be certified in South Africa, allowing hundreds of thousands of gold miners and their families to seek redress against gold mining companies.

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