AngloGold Ashanti silicosis lawsuit (So. Africa)

 C русской версией описания этого дела можно ознакомиться здесь.

Miner with torchIn October 2006, a South African gold miner named Thembekile Mankayi sued AngloGold Ashanti, his former employer, stating that he developed the lung disease silicosis while working in Vaal Reefs mine.  The lawsuit, filed in the Witwatersrand Local Division of the High Court of South Africa, sought R2.6 million in compensatory damages.  Mankayi alleged that AngloGold Ashanti failed to meet its responsibility to provide its employees with a safe and healthy work environment under both South African laws and an employer’s common law duty of care to its employees.  AngloGold Ashanti responded that Mankayi was precluded by law from making the claims he set forth in his lawsuit.  Under South Africa’s Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), workers or their families may not sue an employer for injury or death incurred at the workplace. Instead, the compensation commission considers these claims.  Mankayi’s claims of AngloGold’s negligence could only be heard in a court of general jurisdiction, not by the compensation commission. 

In addition, mineworkers’ lung diseases are covered under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA), which limits a mineworker’s compensation for illness due to working conditions to just a fraction of that awarded under COIDA (plaintiff’s counsel estimates that the payout is about a tenth of what it would be under COIDA).  The size of Mankayi’s claim challenged the limitations on compensation under ODMWA.  The South African Parliament is considering revisions to the law to address the disparity between the remedies available to workers under COIDA and ODMWA. 

On 26 June 2009, the High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division, issued a decision in this case.  The court ruled in AngloGold Ashanti’s favour, holding that Mankayi was statutorily barred from making his claim.  In March 2010, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein heard Mankayi's appeal of the lower court's ruling.  On 31 March, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's ruling.  The plaintiff appealed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and this court reversed the lower court's ruling and ruled in favour of Mankayi on 3 March 2011.  Mr Mankayi died of lung disease on 25 February 2011.

See also Gold miner silicosis litigation (re So. Africa)

- "Special report: From gold dust, a billion dollar claim", Ed Cropley, 20 Mar 2012
- "Ex-mineworker beats AngloGold, dies", SAPA, 3 Mar 2011
- “Multi-billion rand legal threat to SA miners crumbles”, Allan Seccombe, miningmx.com, 26 Jun 2008
- "South Africa: AngloGold Vs Ailing Worker in Test Case", Chantelle Benjamin, Business Day [So. Africa], 12 Feb 2008
- “AngloGold Ashanti silicosis case postponed to 2008”, Mariaan Olivier, Mining Weekly, 1 Oct 2007
- “Test case against AngloGold approaches”, Allan Seccombe, miningmx.com, 15 Jan 2007
- “AngloGold lawsuit seen as a test case”, Allan Seccombe, miningmx.com, 9 Oct 2006

- AngloGold Ashanti: Mankayi case - Constitutional Court ruling, 3 Mar 2011
- AngloGold Ashanti: Exception lodged in respect of case of Thembekile Mankayi upheld, 26 Jun 2008
- AngloGold Ashanti: Report to Society 06 - The legacy of silicosis
- Richard Spoor Inc Attorneys: [PDF] The significance of the Constitutional Court's decision in MANKAYI V ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD for former gold mineworkers who suffer from silicosis, Nov 2012
- Richard Spoor & Charles Abrahams: [DOC] Press Statement: Precedent setting civil action instituted against Anglo Gold Ashanti Ltd, 9 Oct 2006 [plaintiff’s counsel]
- Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll: South Africa Silicosis [member of plaintiff’s legal team]

Mankayi v. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.
- Judgment, Constitutional Court of South Africa, 3 Mar 2011 [reversing lower court's decision - COIDA does not extinguish plaintiff's common law claim for negligence]
- Media Summary, Constitutional Court of South Africa, 3 Mar 2011
- [PDF] Media Summary, Constitutional Court of South Africa, 17 Aug 2010
- Judgment, Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, 31 Mar 2010 [upholding High Court's ruling]
- [PDF] Judgment, High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division, 26 Jun 2008 [ruling that plaintiff's common law claim for damages barred by COIDA]
- [PDF] Summons filed in High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division, 9 Oct 2006

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Article
21 March 2016

South African gold mining companies form working group to compensate workers for lung disease

Author: Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg Business (USA)

"South African Gold Companies Form Working Group on Lung Disease", 20 Mar 2016

South African gold-mining companies, some of which are being sued for historical incidents of lung disease, formed a working group to pay compensation to affected workers and prevent new cases occurring. The group, which includes AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Anglo American South Africa and Sibanye Gold Ltd., plans to set up a so-called legacy fund to supplement compensation paid by the state, it said in an op-ed in Johannesburg-based City Press Sunday. "While there rests a fiduciary obligation on company managements to vigorously defend the legal challenge they face, it is also within their remit to find a solution that could provide a mutually acceptable outcome for all parties concerned," they wrote...African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. are also part of the working group.

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Article
4 May 2014

Mines ‘stalling’ silicosis claims [So. Africa]

Author: Loni Prinsloo, Business Day (So. Africa)

Mining groups have been accused of saving themselves millions by dragging out silicosis litigation and payment of compensation to victims…Richard Meeran…attorney…for ill workers…says families of workers fear they will die during court delays, resulting in the loss of their rights to general damages…“We asked AngloGold Ashanti to agree to preserve claimants’ damages in the event of death but they refused,”…Under South African law, the “pain and suffering” element of the claim falls away if a claimant dies…AngloGold Ashanti said…that it was not frustrating progress in the matter but would employ the appropriate court procedures to defend the case on its merits…[Claims] were also lodged in Johannesburg courts…against more than 30 gold companies, including Gold Fields and Harmony Gold… AngloGold Ashanti spokesman…said the company recognised that the statutory compensation system for silicosis-related illnesses had to be reviewed to address inadequacies…

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Article
27 April 2014

South African miners take lung disease fight to London [UK]

Author: Tracy McVeigh, Guardian (UK)

The fate of thousands of sick and dying South African gold miners could be decided in a British court if talks to set up an industry fund to compensate them continue to stall…[Representatives] of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were in the UK to put pressure on…Anglo American to pay for…testing and healthcare…as well as compensation…[More] than 3,500 ex-miners [are] currently involved in a legal action against Anglo American in the London courts, while an action…against 29 mining companies, including Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, is under way in Johannesburg…Anglo American…said the company supported initiatives to ensure that sufferers received support and statutory compensation, but stuck to its position that it was not liable for the claims…The firm said it, along with industry, government and civil society partners, shared "common objectives" to improve the access to healthcare for all disadvantaged South Africans.

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Article
24 April 2014

NUM to demand 'justice' for silicosis sufferers at Anglo AGM [So. Africa]

Author: Natasha Odendaal, Mining Weekly

…South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) planned to attend…Anglo American’s annual general meeting…to demand “justice” for former gold miners suffering from silicosis…NUM president…accused the mining giant’s board of “procrastinating for the last 20 years” and demanded the company pay for testing, healthcare and decent compensation for ex-miners and their families who were suffering with the consequences of silicosis, particularly tuberculosis…Anglo American…[said] that it, along with industry, government and civil society partners, shared “common objectives” to improve the access to and quality of healthcare for all disadvantaged South Africans…“We understand that partnership must be at the very heart of our approach in tackling not only health but broader sustainable development issues we face,”…The Trade Union Congress, Action for Southern Africa and the London Mining Network would also protest…in London, where the AGM was taking place…[Also refers to AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Goldfields]

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Lawsuit
18 February 2014

AngloGold Ashanti silicosis lawsuit (So. Africa)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In October 2006, a South African gold miner named Thembekile Mankayi sued AngloGold Ashanti, his former employer, stating that he developed the lung disease silicosis while working in Vaal Reefs mine.  The lawsuit, filed in the Witwatersrand Local Division of the High Court of South Africa, sought R2.6 million in compensatory damages.  Mankayi alleged that AngloGold Ashanti failed to meet its responsibility to provide its employees with a safe and healthy work environment under both South African laws and an employer’s common law duty of care to its employees.  AngloGold Ashanti responded that Mankayi was precluded by law from making the claims he set forth in his lawsuit.  Under South Africa’s Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), workers or their families may not sue an employer for injury or death incurred at the workplace. Instead, the compensation commission considers these claims.  Mankayi’s claims of AngloGold’s negligence could only be heard in a court of general jurisdiction, not by the compensation commission. 

In addition, mineworkers’ lung diseases are covered under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA), which limits a mineworker’s compensation for illness due to working conditions to just a fraction of that awarded under COIDA (plaintiff’s counsel estimates that the payout is about a tenth of what it would be under COIDA).  The size of Mankayi’s claim challenged the limitations on compensation under ODMWA.  The South African Parliament is considering revisions to the law to address the disparity between the remedies available to workers under COIDA and ODMWA. 

On 26 June 2009, the High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division, issued a decision in this case.  The court ruled in AngloGold Ashanti’s favour, holding that Mankayi was statutorily barred from making his claim.  In March 2010, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein heard Mankayi's appeal of the lower court's ruling.  On 31 March, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's ruling.  The plaintiff appealed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and this court reversed the lower court's ruling and ruled in favour of Mankayi on 3 March 2011.  Mr Mankayi died of lung disease on 25 February 2011.

- "Special report: From gold dust, a billion dollar claim", Ed Cropley, 20 Mar 2012
- "Ex-mineworker beats AngloGold, dies", SAPA, 3 Mar 2011
- “Multi-billion rand legal threat to SA miners crumbles”, Allan Seccombe, miningmx.com, 26 Jun 2008
- "South Africa: AngloGold Vs Ailing Worker in Test Case", Chantelle Benjamin, Business Day [So. Africa], 12 Feb 2008
- “AngloGold Ashanti silicosis case postponed to 2008”, Mariaan Olivier, Mining Weekly, 1 Oct 2007
- “Test case against AngloGold approaches”, Allan Seccombe, miningmx.com, 15 Jan 2007
- “AngloGold lawsuit seen as a test case”, Allan Seccombe, miningmx.com, 9 Oct 2006

- AngloGold Ashanti: Mankayi case - Constitutional Court ruling, 3 Mar 2011
- AngloGold Ashanti: Exception lodged in respect of case of Thembekile Mankayi upheld, 26 Jun 2008
- AngloGold Ashanti: Report to Society 06 - The legacy of silicosis
- Richard Spoor Inc Attorneys: [PDF] The significance of the Constitutional Court's decision in MANKAYI V ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD for former gold mineworkers who suffer from silicosis, Nov 2012
- Richard Spoor & Charles Abrahams: [DOC] Press Statement: Precedent setting civil action instituted against Anglo Gold Ashanti Ltd, 9 Oct 2006 [plaintiff’s counsel]
- Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll: South Africa Silicosis [member of plaintiff’s legal team]

Mankayi v. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.
- Judgment, Constitutional Court of South Africa, 3 Mar 2011 [reversing lower court's decision - COIDA does not extinguish plaintiff's common law claim for negligence]
- Media Summary, Constitutional Court of South Africa, 3 Mar 2011
- [PDF] Media Summary, Constitutional Court of South Africa, 17 Aug 2010
- Judgment, Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, 31 Mar 2010 [upholding High Court's ruling]
- [PDF] Judgment, High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division, 26 Jun 2008 [ruling that plaintiff's common law claim for damages barred by COIDA]
- [PDF] Summons filed in High Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division, 9 Oct 2006

Article
20 December 2013

[PDF] Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin – Issue 11, December 2013

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 11th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non- lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available...[Refers to African Rainbow Minerals, Alstom, Amesys (part of Bull), AngloGold Ashanti, Argor-Heraeus, BP, Bull, CACI, Chevron, Davao Fruits, Ford, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, HudBay Minerals, IBM, Kaweri (part of Neumann Gruppe), Koh Kong Sugar, Lapanday Agricultural Development, Nestlé, Neumann Gruppe, Texaco (part of Chevron), Titan Corporation (now L-3 Services, part of L-3 Communications), Veolia Environnement, Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement)]

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Article
26 September 2013

The floodgates open: Anglo-American settles mineworkers’ silicosis claims

Author: Rebecca Davis, Daily Maverick (So. Africa)

On Wednesday it was announced that Anglo-American South Africa would pay 23 former mineworkers undisclosed amounts to settle claims brought against the company after the workers contracted silicosis. The mining house remains adamant that this is not an admission of liability. But lawyers for the mineworkers are hopeful that the settlement may pave the way for payouts for silicosis victims across the industry...[Also refers to AngloGold Ashanti]

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Article
6 August 2013

[audio] Silicosis: the largest class action suit in South African history and why it still matters

Author: Redi Tlhabi show, Talk Radio 702 (So. Africa)

Redi speaks to human rights lawyer Richard Spoor about his silicosis class action suit against gold mines, which is mooted to be the biggest class action case in the country. This case will have far reaching effects for the gold mining industry and for its relations with the government.

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Article
26 December 2012

S African gold miners gun for mining firms

Author: Ilham Rawoot, Al Jazeera

Four thousand former gold mine workers have filed affidavits in the High Court of South Africa, launching three simultaneous lawsuits against mining giants Anglogold Ashanti, Goldfields and Harmony Gold. The miners, who are all ill with lung disease they contracted while working underground, are suing the mining firms for damages, which are expected to run into billions of rands (millions of US dollars)…Alan Fine, a spokesperson for AngloGold Ashanti, says…while the statutory compensation scheme needs to be improved, the company has established, along with other gold-mining firms, a project designed to assist former miners to be diagnosed and receive assistance in making claims. Harmony Gold and Goldfield opted not to comment.

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Article
1 October 2012

Anglo American to face South Africa silicosis hearing

Author: Ed Stoddard, Reuters

Anglo American Plc's South African unit will face a hearing next year to determine if it is liable for miners who contracted the lung disease silicosis while working in its gold shafts, lawyers for the plaintiffs said on Monday. Anglo American no longer has gold assets in South Africa, but the proceedings, initiated by 18 plaintiffs, have been launched on the grounds that miners contracted the debilitating disease when the company still ran bullion mines. The arbitration hearing is scheduled to begin on September 2, 2013 and will be presided over by a panel including South Africa's former chief justice, Sandile Ngcobo, they said…A spokesman for Anglo American in South Africa said the group and plaintiffs had signed an arbitration agreement. [also refers to AngloGold Ashanti]

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