Mining companies have agreed a 5bn rand ($400m) compensation deal for tens of thousands of South African miners who contracted deadly lung diseases while working underground. The miners contracted silicosis, an incurable lung disease caused by inhaling dust from gold-bearing rocks.
The settlement is thought to be South Africa’s biggest group legal action. The case was launched six years ago on behalf of miners suffering from silicosis, an incurable disease that causes shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest pains, and also leaves sufferers highly susceptible to tuberculosis.
The mining companies include Harmony Gold, Gold Fields, African Rainbow Minerals, Sibanye-Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American.
They have also set up a compensation fund worth almost 4bn rand to help affected miners or the families of those who died from the diseases.
The settlement avoids a lengthy and expensive court battle and means claimants will get compensation more quickly. It still needs approval by the Johannesburg High Court before being implemented.