Silicosis class action settlement 'within months'
Publish date: 12 February 2018
Issue Number: 761
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
Silicosis-suffering miners, who brought a class action suit against six SA gold producers, should see a R9bn settlement reached within months, the chair of an industry group on the issue said. Reuters reports that Graham Briggs, chair of the Working Group on Occupational Lung Disease and former chief executive of Harmony, said the faster the companies settled, the faster compensation could be paid to the affected miners suffering from silicosis and occupational tuberculosis. He was speaking ahead of his address to a mining indaba in Cape Town on the class action suit, launched six years ago. Briggs said the pending settlement was a 'compromise', adding, that the gold companies have said there were limits to what they could pay in the face of rising costs and often thin margins. The six companies involved are Harmony Gold, Gold Fields, African Rainbow Minerals, Sibanye-Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American. The logistics of the payouts are not expected to be easy, as many of the affected miners were in remote rural regions. Briggs said the biggest issue was finding the affected miners so they could be paid. He said the industry still did not know exactly how many claimants were entitled to compensation and estimates have run from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.