A South African miner recently travelled to London to highlight the plight of miners who want personal injury compensation after being affected with silicosis, a life threatening lung disease.
Anglo American plc. held its AGM last week and ex-miner Daniel Thakamakau was in attendance. He is one of thousands of miner who worked in gold mines in South Africa and is now suffering as a result. He has no money and therefore cannot afford medical treatment.
A UK firm of personal injury solicitors is representing 1,200 South African miners in a mass tort action, which began in September last year. If successful, the personal injury claims filed on behalf of the miners could be worth compensation running into the hundreds of millions of pounds.
Anglo American claims that the UK courts have no jurisdiction over this case, but the injury solicitors say they have because the central administration of the company takes place in London. The case will come before the High court next month.
Litigation on behalf of eighteen miners has been on-going in the High Court in Johannesburg since 2004. One of the lawyers working on the case said the gold mining industry in South Africa exploited black miners and now tens of thousands of them are left destitute and disabled. The industry has done nothing to help them even though their predicament has been known for more than ten years.
Multinational corporation Anglo American claims to be committed to corporate social responsibility and if it wants to live up to its name it should ensure that ex-miners, who built their business, receive the personal injury compensation they deserve