MINES COME OUT
Mining companies will appeal against last month’s certification of a potentially enormous class action by mine workers with silicosis and TB.
This had “complicated” the ongoing talks about a settlement, an outcome the mines also preferred, said Richard Spoor, who is representing the mine workers.
Applications to the Supreme Court of Appeal were filed by Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, African Rainbow Minerals, Gold Fields and DRDGold.
Even without this appeal, the class action had been expected to take a year to go to trial, said Spoor. The appeal now suspends the certification of the class action.
“A settlement is contingent on there being a class,” said Spoor. “It is impossible to talk in good faith ... You cannot reconcile the two things. The appeal is not sincere; it is a tactic.
“The irony is that the industry has a powerful interest in a settlement that binds everyone.”
The mine workers’ lawyers are working on new strategies as well.
“We are obliged to do something ... We will do everything possible to expedite this,” said Spoor.
He said they were “looking at” forcing the companies to disclose estimates of their liability to shareholders, among other things.
“We cannot tolerate a situation where up to 4% of the class is dying every year and the industry is dragging this on.”
The companies are still pushing their original argument that the class action is legally pointless and just plain impossible from a practical perspective.
LIVING VICTIMS Former mine workers attend a roadshow through the Eastern Cape by silicosis lawyers in 2013