JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A silicosis class action application launched on Thursday against mining giant Anglo American South Africa (AASA) could result in the largest-ever silicosis liability of any gold mining company.
So asserted the legal collaboration that filed the application in the Johannesburg High Court and which comprised the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Garratt Mbuyisa Neale attorneys (GMN), London-based lawyers Leigh Day and Legal Aid South Africa.
The application would be served on Thursday on AASA, a company believed to hold assets worth some $15-billion.
The legal team said in a statement that the application was opt-out and, therefore, provided a mechanism through which the interests of the wider class of silicosis sufferers ¬– including those who were unaware that they had the disease – were protected.
The class action application against AASA was a ‘natural progression’ from the President Steyn litigation against AASA, it claimed.
In 2004, 18 claims relating to miners employed at AASA’s President Steyn mine, in the Free State, were filed by the same legal team, alleging that AASA negligently controlled and advised its mines with regard to the prevention of dust exposure and silicosis.
“The President Steyn cases are in an advanced state of preparation and are expected to be heard over four months between February and June 2014. The arbitration hearing will be at a public venue, in Johannesburg, before a panel of three eminent South African judges,” said the team.
Mining Weekly in December reported that ten of the claims would be heard in a public arbitration hearing, which was set to start on September 2, this year, in Johannesburg.
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