Thousands of gold miners have asked permission from South African courts to sue some 30 mining companies over negligence in health and safety that the miners allege has caused them to contract silicosis, a debilitating and potentially fatal lung disease.
Just before Christmas, Richard Spoor, a South African lawyer, filed papers with the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg requesting permission to conduct a class action lawsuit on behalf of 17,000 former miners. Hundreds more are signing up with Spoor every month. Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony Gold are four of the 30 major companies named in the legal papers that operated 78 different mines from 1965 to the present.
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