South Africa gold miners


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African gold producers will likely reach a settlement within six weeks in a lawsuit over a fatal lung disease that companies have set aside 5 billion rand ($420 million) in provisions for, a lawyer and industry group said on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa’s impoverished Eastern Cape province March 7, 2012. Silewise worked underground in the country’s gold mines for 44 years before being diagnosed with silicosis. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

“I am confident we will finalize the settlement within six weeks,” Richard Spoor, the human rights lawyer who has spearheaded the class action suit over the disease silicosis, which gold miners contract while working underground, told Reuters.

A spokesman for the working group on Occupational Lung Disease (OLD), a group put together by the six companies involved, said it was is “hopeful” the settlement can be reached in that timeframe.

($1 = 11.8078 rand)

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Jason Neely

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