silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector
Last Updated : GMT 02:55:51
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Silicosis suit could crush South Africa\'s gold mining sector

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Silicosis suit could crush South Africa\'s gold mining sector

Johannesburg - AFP

Thousands of ex-gold miners suffering from silicosis have launched a class action suit in South Africa, in what could prove the final nail in the coffin of the country\'s battered but vital mining sector. Already buckling under huge operational costs and seemingly endless labour unrest, some 30 gold mine operators were last month slapped with litigation by thousands of their former employees. The plaintiffs -- mostly black migrant labourers from nearby countries and South Africa\'s far flung mountainous villages of the Eastern Cape region -- allegedly contracted the lung disease while drilling gold bearing rocks. Already theirs is the biggest class action in South Africa\'s legal history, involving more than 17,000 complainants. And the list is growing by around 500 people each month, according to lead attorney Richard Spoor. That stream could very well become a torrent. Academic calculations estimate some 280,000 people have worked in gold mines for a minimum of 10 years, long enough to inhale dangerous levels of silica dust. When exposed for long to excessive amounts, the dust gets locked in the lungs and permanently scars the organ, resulting in silicosis, a disease that has no known cure. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains and persistent cough. Sufferers are more susceptible to other lung diseases like tuberculosis. Research has shown that between 20 and 30 percent of all gold mine workers contracted silicosis. Black miners working in often unsafe conditions during apartheid were hardest hit. Activists argue the disease is preventable, if only operators invest in making the mines safe. The disease has virtually been wiped out in other gold mining countries such as Australia, the United States and Britain. \"But in South African we continue to hear thousands each year, who have been disabled by this disease,\" said Spoor, whose oldest client started working in 1965. If the miners are successful, it could cost the industry millions of dollars, but mining experts warn it could also cost jobs. \"There will be no golden goose anymore,\" warned mining consultant Peter Major. \"There may be some feathers, some intestines and maybe a beak (but) there will be no goose, no golden bar ever again.\" That would be an epoch-ending event for a country whose very foundations were built on the gold reefs and diamond deposits. \"Do you really want to put mining companies down forever in country that has 30 percent unemployment,\" asked Major. \"We are almost getting to the stage now where it looks like \'let\'s kick the guy, let\'s put the boots to him now that he\'s down on the ground\'.\" A watershed Constitutional Court ruling in 2011 which allowed sick workers to sue their employers has emboldened the gold mine workers and opened the floodgates. The mass suit -- filed last month and likely to be heard within months -- is sure to play havoc with investors\' sentiment. But so far there has been no such flight by investors. Emerging market analyst Peter Nomura is of the opinion the case may not immediately move markets. Markets \"may well change particularly if there are large pay-outs,\" he said. Depending on commodity prices, operators may in the long run consider selling their companies, he added. But some of the larger operators, already facing a few cases brought by smaller groups of miners, are not taking the latest case lightly. \"The application raises a number of complex legal and factual issues, and AngloGold Ashanti plans to respond through the appropriate court procedures to defend the case on its merits,\" said spokesman Alan Fine. \"Silicosis is an issue that not only challenges the mining industry, but South Africa as a whole,\" said Fine. The consequences of the suit may yet shift into unexpected directions. Some activists argue that government should also be charged with complicity in the case as they grant mining royalties and collect taxes. The state\'s occupational health compensation department did not respond to requests for comment.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today Japanese regulators raid Airbnb

GMT 00:44 2017 Monday ,20 November

Japanese regulators raid Airbnb
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today Saudi, Bahrain target Iran

GMT 00:48 2017 Monday ,20 November

Saudi, Bahrain target Iran
Arab Today, arab today Europe turns on Facebook, Google

GMT 02:26 2017 Monday ,20 November

Europe turns on Facebook, Google
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Driverless, electric future just round

GMT 02:45 2017 Monday ,20 November

Driverless, electric future just round
Arab Today, arab today Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck

GMT 02:59 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck
Arab Today, arab today Mona Abdel Ghany increased artistic activities

GMT 12:15 2017 Friday ,17 November

Mona Abdel Ghany increased artistic activities
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 12:22 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Hanan Metawe denies apology for “Major Treason”

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 02:28 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Anti-drug operation nets 4 tonnes

GMT 01:34 2017 Friday ,17 November

Banyan Tree Phuket Takes Festive Season

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday