CAPE TOWN - Major gold mining companies in South Africa expect to reach a settlement in the next few months with former and current workers in the sector affected by lung disease, an industry official said on Wednesday.

 “We are close to a settlement,” said Graham Briggs, convener of the  Occupational Lung Disease Working Group representing African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye Stillwater.

  He told journalists on the sidelines of an annual mining conference in Cape Town, dubbed the “mining indaba” that the companies had put together a provision totalling 5 billion rand for the settlement, after affected workers agreed to postpone a class action in court.

" Litigation of this nature, a class action involving many different companies with many different circumstances where ownership of mines has changed and so on is very very complex, and is likely to take a very long time," Briggs said.

"By getting to a compromise situation where there’s a settlement would be a great benefit to the claimants because they would get their payments much quicker."

- African News Agency (ANA)