Mining industry supports unclaimed benefits efforts - lung disease group

Johannesburg - The six mining companies, which form the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group, said on Monday they fully and actively support the work being done by the national departments of Mineral Resources and Health to ensure that former mineworkers are able to claim all the benefits to which they are entitled.

The members of the group include AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye.

"While the Chamber of Mines and the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group are making a substantial contribution to the ongoing efforts to review and redesign South Africa’s existing compensation systems, efforts have also continued to ensure that former employees receive all the benefits to which they are entitled," it said in a statement.

According to the group, the mining industry is actively driving a number of projects in this area, including the Former-Mineworker and Making ODMWA (Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act) Work Projects. These projects aim to establish occupational health centres at identified government hospitals to provide benefit medical examinations to former mineworkers. They also aim to strengthen the certification and compensation claims process at the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD) and the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD).

"The key to successful compensation coverage for all current and future employees is the application of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) across the board. COIDA is widely acknowledged as a progressive compensation system that is compliant with standards set by the International Labour Organisation. The legal and administrative work is actively supported by the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group," it said.

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