A South African court has given thousands of gold miners who contracted lung disease called silicosis, the go ahead to sue the mining companies.
This ruling also extends to miners who contracted tuberculosis in the mines, Silicosis, is an incurable lung disease.
The High Court judge in Johannesburg said a class action in this case was the ‘only realistic option’.
“We hold in view that in the context of this case, class action is the only realistic option through which most mine workers can assert their claims effectively against mining companies,” said Judge Phineas Mojaelo.
He went on to say the class action was “unprecedented” and would be a “paradigmatic shift” in South Africa.
Thirty mining companies could be sued in this class action for compensation.
The defendants include Harmony Gold, Gold fields, AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, African Rainbow Minerals and Aglo American which form the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group to deal with the issue according to Reuters news agency.
“Silicosis” is a lung disease caused by tiny bits of sand, rock and mineral ores.