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Silicosis lawsuit: Mining companies hope to settle out of court

Six mining companies, including Sibanye Gold and Anglo American, have provisionally set aside around up to R100 million for a possible settlement.

Miners at work in a mine shaft. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The mining companies being sued in a class action lawsuit to compensate miners who contracted lung cancer at work say they are hoping to settle out of court.

Six mining companies, including Sibanye Gold and Anglo American, have provisionally set aside around up to R100 million for a possible settlement with miners who contracted lung diseases at work.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of miners in 2012 has been appealed by the mining companies after the High Court ordered the companies to compensate mine workers who have contracted silicosis and tuberculosis while at work.

The companies involved include Sibanye Gold, Harmony Gold Mining, African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, Anglo Gold Ashanti and Gold Fields.

The mining companies involved known as the Industry Working Group say they do not believe they are liable in respect of the claims brought but say they are committed to finding solutions for what they call a legacy issue in the sector.

Spokesperson for the working group representing the six companies Allen Sine says that the organisations believe they have a legitimate case to make and have made progress in negotiating meetings with the claimant lawyers.

Sine says the six mining companies are hoping to settle the matter out of court by the end of this year while the appeal is set to be heard in the supreme court of appeal in March.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)