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miners2GroundUp reports data presented at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town suggest that gold mines might at last be making progress with the prevention of silicosis among miners.  

Silicosis is a progressive, deadly lung disease caused by silica dust, while affected workers are much more likely to contract TB.  Graham Briggs, retired CEO of Harmony Gold and convenor of the Occupational Lung Diseases Working Group (a collaboration between the six largest mining groups in the industry), said silicosis diagnoses had dropped 24% from 853 cases in 2015 to 635 cases in 2016 on the four gold mines in the group.  These are Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony Gold.  Over the same period, cases of pulmonary TB had dropped almost 14% (from 1,666 to 1,436 cases).  Briggs also reported significant progress with the “Ku-Riha” project, which is aimed at dealing with the enormous backlog of unclaimed compensation and unprocessed claims.  From 2015 to 2016, settled claims leaped from 1,628 to 7,756, and total payouts to sick workers climbed from R79m to R226m.  But Briggs was much less forthcoming on progress with dust monitoring.  He said sampling frequencies and dust analysis methods had improved in recent years, but he did not give any detail.

  • Read this report by Pete Lewis in full at News24

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