Six gold mining firms, including Anglo American, have made a $361 million (ZAR 5 billion) provision to settle a class action law suit with thousands of miners who contracted fatal lung diseases while working in South African mines, according to media reports quoting an industry document.


A South African court had, in May last year, allowed a class action suit by thousands of miners who had contracted lung diseases including silicosis, against the gold mining firms. The defendants in the case include Harmony Gold, Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo American, which have formed the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) working group to deal with such issues.

In August last year, the US legal firm of Motley Rice LLC, that helped invent mass-tort litigation in the  1970s by bringing action against asbestos makers and then taking on big tobacco in a litigation that resulted in a $246 billion settlement in 1998, took over the South African miners class action suit in response to an appeal by South African lawyer Richard Spoor.

Lawyers for affected miners had said earlier on Wednesday that settlement talks with the involved gold mining companies were ongoing and that an out-of-court deal could be reached by next month.

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