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Silicosis class action lawsuit 'being handled' out of court

They've provisionally set aside between $30 million and $100 million for a possible settlement.

Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - The mining companies facing a class action lawsuit to compensate miners who contracted lung cancer have provisionally set aside between $30 million and $100 million for a possible settlement.

They say the matter is being handled out of court.

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.

However, the companies say they’re committed to finding solutions to what they’ve called “a legacy issue” in the sector.

The group is appealing the 2013 Johannesburg High Court ruling for them to compensate workers who contracted silicosis at work.

The 2013 ruling found that if the person is already deceased, their dependents should be compensated.

But spokesperson for the working group representing the six companies, Allen Sine, says that the companies don't agree with aspects of the ruling.

“They all believe they have a legitimate case to make. However, neither the companies or claimants believe it would be best to pursue this through the courts for the next 10 to 15 years.”

The case will be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in March.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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