Ex-Miners Launch Court Action Against AngloGold Ashanti
Former miners have filed a lawsuit against the South African mining company AngloGold Ashanti in the Johannesburg High Court for health-related negligence. The 31 plaintiffs claim that they contracted silicosis and silico-tuberculosis from exposure to excessive levels of dust during their employment at the Vaal Reefs gold mine, which was owned and operated by Vaal Reefs Exploration and Mining Company, now known as AngloGold Ashanti. The plaintiffs’ local attorney, Zanele Mbuyisa, is being assisted by the law firm Leigh Day & Co. of London, England. Leigh Day & Co. stated that they expect a large number of former Vaal Reefs miners to join the lawsuit on an ongoing basis.
According to Mbuyisa, the company has been working extensively in communities in the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, and the Free State. These areas have been devastated by the impact of silicosis and TB. Former miners have been abandoned by the industry, and the vast majority of workers have not even received the modest statutory compensation to which they are entitled. Leigh Day & Co. has been assisting the Johannesburg branch of the Legal Resources Centre since 2004 in a series of claims, including health-related negligence, against Anglo American South Africa (AASA), another mining company, on behalf of 18 former miners who worked at a gold mine in the Free State. Several former employees contracted silicosis and silico-tuberculosis during their employment at the mine between 1970 and 1998.
Richard Meeran, a partner at Leigh Day & Co., announced that an arbitration hearing was set for September 2, 2013, to determine whether AASA should be held liable for compensation to the claimants. Also Leigh Day & Co is representing about 2,000 former gold miners and potentially thousands more in a separate case against AASA in the English High Court. That case may be heard by the end of 2012.
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