• Uncategorized
  • News
  • News from ACTSA
  • Features
  • Latest posts

  • What we write about

  • Archived posts

  • Are the mining companies trying to escape on the cheap?

    By Campaigns | October 9, 2017

    ACTSA’s position has always been that the the settlement reached in March 2016 on behalf of 4365 ex-gold mineworkers in regard to legal actions against Anglo American and AngloGold Ashanti should be seen as a benchmark and not just a landmark. We continue to assert that the broad terms of any settlement of the ongoing class action should be at least as good as the terms of the March 2016 settlement.

    The six mining companies have now announced the amounts that they have set aside in relation to a possible settlement of the class action. We have calculated that the total of these provisions is approximately $371.2 million. How would this compare to the terms of the March 2016 settlement?

    The settlement reached in March 2016 saw R464 million, which at the time was $30.1 million, paid into a trust for distribution. While not all ex-gold mineworkers will receive the same amount (assuming that claimants with silicosis can prove they worked on Anglo American or AngloGold mines for at least two years, payments depend on the extent of their illness and their age), this equates to $6896 per person.

    Importantly, a further amount was paid to assist the trust to enable payment of statutory compensation to claimants who qualify for it, and Anglo American and AngloGold also agreed to fund the running costs of the trust and all medical evaluations. Moreover, relatives of deceased ex-gold mineworkers who meet the criteria are included in this settlement.

    On the surface, it would appear that the $371.2 million total set aside by the mining companies could compensate 53,828 ex-gold mineworkers – if the $6896 per person figure is a benchmark. Yet, as we outlined in our recent briefing paper Coughing Up, estimates of ex-gold mineworkers with silicosis run into the hundreds of thousands. For example, in 2005 the Government of South Africa’s Department of Labour estimated 480,000 cases of silicosis among ex-gold mineworkers in Southern Africa. A 2010 study estimated there were 288,000 cases of compensable silicosis in South Africa. As a result, paid occupational lung disease compensation for gold mineworkers has been estimated to run into the billions of US dollars. Experts agree that many ex-gold mineworkers with silicosis in Southern Africa have already died but are there no more than 53,828 of them still alive?

    Yet on closer examination the situation is even worse than at first suspected. ACTSA has learnt that it is likely that the $371.2 million figure is inclusive of all other costs. As noted above, under the March 2016 settlement, costs relating to implementing the settlement (including providing medicals, distributing funds and supporting payment of statutory compensation to those who qualify) were treated separately and are borne by the mining companies. Moreover, in this case there are likely to be significant costs incurred due to locating ex-gold mineworkers with silicosis, as many have gone back to their homes in rural areas of South Africa or in surrounding countries. Finally, it is not clear if relatives of deceased ex-gold mineworkers with silicosis will be eligible to receive any compensation under any settlement of the class action.

    All in all, it looks like the mining companies are looking for a bargain as they look to close the book on their appalling treatment of their former employees. Can we stop them from escaping on the cheap?

    Sunit Bagree is ACTSA’s Senior Campaigns Officer

    Topics: Features | No Comments »

    Public Statement on AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Mineworkers with Silicosis and Tuberculosis in Southern Africa

    By Campaigns | July 26, 2017

    In April 2017, Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) published the briefing paper Coughing Up. The paper argues that AngloGold Ashanti and other companies in the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group (OLDWG) not only made huge profits from apartheid gold, but in doing so they completely neglected the health and safety of black mineworkers, leading to so many of them developing the diseases silicosis and tuberculosis (TB).

    A settlement reached in March 2016 with AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American South Africa, while welcome and positive, is limited to 4,365 claimants. It is not a comprehensive industry-wide settlement. A class action filed in the High Court of South Africa in December 2012 and certified in May 2016 seeks to achieve an industry-wide compensation scheme. However, the OLDWG companies are appealing all aspects of the class action certification.

    ACTSA, in solidarity with a range of South African civil society organisations, has campaigned for justice for Southern African gold mineworkers with silicosis and TB since 2012. We call on AngloGold Ashanti and the other mining companies to urgently provide proper medical screening, decent financial compensation and healthcare, and adequate support for all ex- and current mineworkers suffering from silicosis and TB. To this end, we call on AngloGold Ashanti to answer the following questions.

    1) Why are AngloGold Ashanti and other OLDWG companies appealing all aspects of the class action certification?

    2) Do you believe that the broad terms of any settlement of the class action should be at least as good as the terms of the March 2016 settlement?

    3) When was the last time you met with the legal representatives of the mineworkers that brought the class action?

    4) Will you commit to meeting regularly, at least quarterly, with the legal representatives of the mineworkers bringing the class action, as well as with the National Union of Mineworkers (South Africa), in order to bring about a comprehensive industry-wide settlement that is fair to ill mineworkers?

    5) In terms of implementing the March 2016 settlement, Anglo American stated (at its AGM on 24 April) that 700 of the 4,365 claimants had been paid out. Is this also your understanding and how many claimants have been assessed so far?

    6) Would it be possible to receive more regular (e.g. quarterly) and detailed updates regarding the implementation of the March 2016 settlement?

    Download this statement 

    Topics: Features, News from ACTSA | No Comments »

    Coughing Up: Justice for Southern African gold mineworkers with silicosis and tuberculosis

    By Tony | April 25, 2017

    Coughing Up

    Justice for Southern African gold mineworkers with silicosis and tuberculosis

    ACTSA Briefing Paper Published April 2017.

    ACTSA calls on the mining companies that profited from South Africa’s gold to provide proper medical screening, decent financial compensation and healthcare for all ex and current mineworkers suffering from silicosis and TB.

    Read the full briefing paper here

    ACTSA – Justice for Miners briefing – Apr 2017

    Topics: News from ACTSA | No Comments »

    Compensation not Procrastination: Justice for Silicosis Sufferers

    By ACTSA | March 3, 2017

    On 4 March 2017, it will be one year since a Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News | No Comments »

    Silicosis: Mining companies should stop appealing and start negotiating

    By ACTSA | June 7, 2016

    The news that the mining companies will appeal against the decision of the High Court in South Africa on 13 May 2016 to certify (i.e. allow to proceed) the class action on behalf of 30,000 current and ex-gold miners with silicosis and TB is deeply Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News, News from ACTSA | 1 Comment »

    National Union of Mineworkers (SA) welcomes historic silicosis class action judgement

    By ACTSA | May 17, 2016

    The National Union Of Mineworkers (NUM) welcomes the South Gauteng High Court ruling against 29 respondent gold mining companies allowing class action suits by thousands of workers suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis. Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News | No Comments »

    Silicosis: statement from Legal Resources Centre in South Africa

    By ACTSA | May 17, 2016

    Marks first class action in South Africa for sick workers; seeks to hold dozens of gold mining companies accountable

     Johannesburg – (13 May 2016) – The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has certified the first class action in South African history for sick workers, allowing gold miners suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis to Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News | No Comments »

    Free Silicosis event: Justice and Accountability for gold miners with speakers from South Africa

    By ACTSA | May 16, 2016

    South Africa’s Silicosis Epidemic: Justice and Accountability for Gold Miners

    You are invited to this event at the Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News | No Comments »

    Silicosis class action: TAC and Section 27 Statement

    By ACTSA | May 13, 2016

    South Africa’s High Court have today given the green light to thousands of gold miners to proceed with their landmark class action suit – the biggest in South Africa’s history – against 31 mining firms.  Following this historic judgement Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News | No Comments »

    Silicosis Sufferers Deserve Justice Now

    By ACTSA | May 13, 2016

    The decision by the High Court in South Africa on 13 May that a class action representing 30,000 ex- gold miners suffering from silicosis can go ahead is very welcome. It should lead to an industry wide compensation scheme for all with silicosis.

    Tony Dykes, Director of ACTSA, which has been campaigning for years for Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News | 1 Comment »

    « Previous Entries