Arab Today, arab today silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector
Last Updated : GMT 12:48:23
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.

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*

Arab Today, arab today silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector Arab Today, arab today silicosis suit could crush south africa\s gold mining sector

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Saudis await visitors but will they come?

GMT 11:54 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Saudis await visitors but will they come?
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Blind sheikh buried in Egypt

GMT 06:32 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Blind sheikh buried in Egypt
Arab Today, arab today Media host Mona Iraqi stresses her show's success

GMT 15:32 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Media host Mona Iraqi stresses her show's success
View News in Arabic - Business: قضايا ساخنة
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today To hold social dialogue over secondary school

GMT 07:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

To hold social dialogue over secondary school
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'

GMT 05:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'
Arab Today, arab today Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 06:41 2017 Monday ,20 February

Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 07:51 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Mom's immune system accepts babies

GMT 17:46 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women
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