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A new class action, on behalf of coal miners suffering from lung disease, has been launched against nine companies owned by Anglo American Group.

This is the second in a series of class actions which Richard Spoor Incorporated – the attorneys representing the coal miners – is launching. The first case was filed in August against South32, BHP Billiton and Seriti.

The suit seeks recourse for the coal miners and the dependents of deceased workers who contracted coal mine dust lung disease while working, a statement from Richard Spoor Incorporated reads.

According to the statement:

The global mining company should act on its promise to ensure the rights of its former employees are restored and that they receive justice and compensation in this lifetime for the damages caused to their health while working in these mines.

A company spokesperson said that Anglo American has been informed that Richard Spoor Incorporated has filed legal action on behalf of former coal miners. 

“We have not yet been served with the application. Once we do, we will study its content and consider our position,” the spokesperson said.

This set of class actions comes five years following the landmark agreement for workers who contracted silicosis from gold mines owned by Harmony GoldGold Fields, African Rainbow Minerals, Sibanye-Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American. 

Richard Spoor Incorporated had worked with US-based Motley Rice attorneys on the silicosis case. Motley Rice is also acting as a consultant on the coal class actions.

“It’s a process, but what we’re hoping is to grab hold of those who benefitted from this neglect of miners and their families’ lives and their health and to hold them accountable in some measure,” said Richard Spoor.

The class action is also supported by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

“The class action which is to be brought against Anglo American is an important endeavour to access the rights of previous employees who are suffering from debilitating coal dust diseases.

“It is incumbent on companies and employers to ensure that workers have access to protective health equipment and be given adequate training to ensure their safety. When companies fail to do so, reparation and compensation are essential in order to assist the affected workers to access healthcare, that they have sufficient funds for their livelihoods and that they are able to support their families,” Cardinal Stephen Brislin, the Archbishop of Cape Town and the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said.

Anglo American has been operating in South Africa since 1917.