Anglo American SA faces a class-action lawsuit on behalf of communities made ill by lead poisoning at the defunct Kabwe mine in Zambia, says a BusinessLIVE report.

However, the diversified miner argues that the operation was nationalised and has been operated by the government for two decades.

Anglo American was one of the six companies involved in the R5bn silicosis class-action case in SA brought on behalf of former gold miners made ill by inhaling silica dust. The matter was settled in July.

London-based law firm Leigh Day has teamed up with Johannesburg-based law firm Mbuyisa Moleele to prepare a class-action case on behalf of communities around Kabwe, and will file it in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) after a two-year investigation.

‘The purpose of the action will be to secure compensation for victims of lead poisoning, including the cost of an effective medical monitoring system for blood lead levels among the community,’ the two firms said in a statement on Friday. They argue the mine was ‘owned and operated and/or managed’ by Anglo American SA between 1925 and 1974 – the operation’s ‘most productive period’. In its defence, Anglo said on Friday it was ‘one of a number of investors in the company that owned the Kabwe mine’.

Full BusinessLIVE report