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Hausfeld LLP Announces the Filing of Three Major Class Actions on Behalf of South African Miners

Hausfeld LLP, a global plaintiffs’ law firm dedicated to handling complex and class action litigation, announces that through its joint actions with South African counsel, “applications for class certifications” have been filed on behalf of thousands of black southern African gold miners.  The class members are predominantly former miners from South Africa as well from the neighboring countries of Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Mozambique and Botswana. The former and current gold miners included in the actions suffer from varying degrees of silicosis, tuberculosis, silico-tuberculosis, and lung cancer caused by significant exposure to the silica dust found in the mining process. Silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) are both recognized in South Africa as occupational lung diseases. The diseases are associated with a long and painful duration and are often fatal.    

The legal actions were filed Monday in the High Court of South Africa in Johannesburg by Charles Abrahams of Abrahams and Kiewitz in Capetown , SA, against three international  mining companies : AngloGold Ashanti  Limited (formerly Anglo American), Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited, and Goldfields Limited.

The class action applications are asking for certification of classes of miners to proceed with their claims in a two step process: first an opt-out declaratory judgment action, and second an opt-in claim for specific damages.

“South African gold mine workers have been among the most exploited laborers in the world. They are recruited from among the poorest areas to work under the most dangerous conditions threatening their ability to provide for themselves and their families after a few years of mining. They have never been protected from the known dangers of silica, and they have never been fairly compensated for the severe occupational lung disease injures, they have suffered,” says Hausfeld LLP’s Richard S. Lewis, the lead attorney at Hausfeld working with the South African counsel on the case.  Lewis is head of the firm’s environmental mass tort practice.

According to the documents filed yesterday, between 320,000 and 500,000 black southern African gold miners have contracted silicosis and other occupational lung diseases in prior decades.   The highest recorded rates of TB in the world have been found in the gold mines of South Africa and the disease figures have remained unconscionably high for decades.

Mr. Lewis is available to comment on these cases. Copies of the filings including the Attorney Affidavits and the Expert Declarations are on the Hausfeld LLP website (

CONTACT:   Deborah Schwartz


                      Phone: 301.897.8838


About Hausfeld LLP:

Hausfeld LLP is widely recognized as one of the leading and best-known claimant law firms in the world. It is at the forefront of numerous innovative legal actions that are expanding the quality and availability of legal recourse for aggrieved individuals and businesses around the world.

The partners of Hausfeld LLP have obtained numerous landmark judgments and settlements for individuals and businesses, and have been champions for human rights, civil rights, and the private enforcement of competition and antitrust laws globally for almost four decades.


Related Case

» South African Silicosis


Practice Areas: Environmental Threats, Mass Torts