Former gold miners in South Africa are suing industry giant Anglo American in the London High Court for allegedly damaging their health, their lawyers say.
The ex-workers contracted lung diseases because of bad ventilation in the UK-based company’s South African mines, their lawyers allege.
They are demanding compensation of millions of dollars.
Anglo American says it is “in no way liable” and is defending the claims.
The firm said it had denied liability in answer to similar claims filed in South African courts, and maintains that “these gold companies which employed the mine workers were responsible for the health and safety of their employees and took reasonable steps to protect them”.
The 450 ex-miners allegedly suffered from silicosis - an incurable lung disease - because of high dust levels in mines, said Leigh Day & Co, the London law firm representing them.
The case was being fought in the London High Court because the company’s headquarters was in the city, it said.
‘River of disease’
“Black miners at South African mines undertook the dustiest jobs, unprotected by respirators or - unlike their white counterparts - with access to on-site showers,” the firm said, in a statement.