The Johannesburg high court on Thursday provisionally approved the R5bn settlement reached between mining companies and workers suffering from silicosis and other occupational lung diseases. However, before the agreement can be made an order of court, interested parties have to be given an opportunity to object. The historic settlement was reached in May 2018 after three years of extensive negotiations between the workers and the companies — African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater. Only once the court issues an order to approve the settlement can a trust be established to pay eligible beneficiaries. But in terms of the processes outlined on Thursday, the court will do so only once interested parties are given an opportunity to object to, or opt out of, the settlement agreement. Richard Spoor, who represents the workers, said the process, while required in a class-action like this, means the matter is likely to be dr...

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