The landmark class action suit against six major gold mining companies has been postponed as the parties near a settlement agreement, notes TimesLIVE. The case was brought by thousands of mine workers seeking compensation for lung diseases such as silicosis and TB contracted while working in mines owned by African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Stillwater.

The case, which was set down from 19 March, would have been the largest and first of its kind to be heard in SA.

A Constitutional Court ruling in 2011 paved the way for miners suffering from lung diseases to sue their employers for damages. However, in a statement, lawyers representing the companies said all appellants and respondents involved in the suit had requested the postponement as settlement negotiations were at an 'advanced stage'.

Last year the Working Group on Occupational Lung Disease, which represents the six gold mining firms involved, said provision for a settlement of around R5bn had been made.

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