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South Africa: Anglo American criticised over silicosis payments

Date: 2 May 2014

Rio Tinto mine

Anglo American was criticised at its AGM for what was described as procrastination over the payment of compensation to former gold miners who are dying of the effects of silicosis.

The campaign group Action for Southern Africa presented chairman Sir John Parker with a so-called 'Golden Snail' award. The company has said that it is not responsible for the compensation claims, regardless of the fact that Anglo ran a number of the mines concerned.

Richard Meeran from the law firm Leigh Day said that many thousands of miners have died, many undiagnosed and uncompensated. He added: “Rather than allowing the litigation to drag on endlessly, it would be better if Anglo American accepted their responsibilities towards the miners and their families and pay compensation now which will give them and their families some financial security and help alleviate their suffering.”

Last year, the company reached a settlement to resolve 23 silicosis class action claims in South Africa, without any admission of liability and saying it would continue to defend such cases.

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