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Johannesburg court approves $353 mln silicosis settlement
JOHANNESBURG, July 26 (Reuters) - A Johannesburg High Court
on Friday approved a 5 billion rand ($353 million) class action
settlement between gold mining companies and law firms
representing thousands of miners who contracted the fatal lung
diseases silicosis and tuberculosis.
The settlement follows a long legal battle by miners to win
compensation for illnesses they say they contracted over decades
because of negligence in health and safety.
"All the parties made an effort to ensure that the
settlement agreement is reasonable, adequate and fair," the High
Court said in its judgement.
The gold producers agreed in May last year to the settlement
but it needed to be approved by the Johannesburg High Court
before being implemented.
The class action suit was launched in 2012 on behalf of
miners suffering from silicosis, an incurable disease caused by
inhaling silica dust from gold-bearing rocks.
It causes shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest
pains, and also makes people highly susceptible to tuberculosis.
The companies involved are Harmony Gold, Gold
Fields, African Rainbow Minerals ARIJ.J,
Sibanye-Stillwater SGLJ.J, AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo
American South Africa. The latter no longer has gold
assets but historically was a bullion producer.
($1 = 14.1591 rand)
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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