South African mining companies face class action lawsuit
Richard Spoor, a South African lawyer, recently announced he is preparing a class action lawsuit against top gold mining firms on behalf of former miners who allegedly have contracted silicosis after working in the nation's mines, according to a Reuters report.
Silicosis is a debilitating lung disease that was contracted by the miners due to negligent safety and health measures in the mines, the lawsuit alleges. Spoor previously led a lawsuit against a South African asbestos mining company that resulted in a $100 million settlement in 2003, the news source states.
"We're continuing with our work on these issues, irrespective of the class action," Frans Barker, COO at the Chamber of Mines, tells the news source in response to the class action filing. "We wouldn't like to respond to the class action itself because that depends very much on the merit of specific cases."
South Africa continues to experience turmoil in its gold exploration industry. On March 7, gold mining halted as tens of thousands of workers staged a national strike to demonstrate their political clout for the African National Congress. Meanwhile, mining operations have proven fruitful and less problematic in regions like Alaska, British Columbia and Mexico.