Anglo American being sued for lead poisoning over decades in Zambia
The class action suit against Anglo American South Africa (AASA) has been filed by local law firm Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys and UK-based firm Leigh Day.
The plaintiffs are acting on behalf of more than 100,000 individuals in the Kabwe District of Zambia believed to have been poisoned by lead.
This reportedly happened on Anglo American's watch - the Kabwe mine was part of the AASA group from 1925 until 1974.
The claimants are principally young children who are suffering from alarming levels of lead poisoning, says the legal team.
Generations of children have been poisoned by the operations of the Kabwe mine, originally known as Broken Hill, which caused widespread contamination of the soil, dust, water, and vegetation.Statement by Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys and Leigh Day
Bruce Whitfield interviews Zanele Mbuyisa, director of Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys.
The basis of the claim is ongoing harm that is suffered by children in Kabwe, as well as women as a result of Anglo's production when they controlled the mine from 1925 to 1974.Zanele Mbuyisa, Director - Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys
They operated a smelter... The stacks were too low... Lead is very dense so it does sink into the soil, so the contamination then, is the ongoing contamination that is suffered by the women and the children in Kabwe.Zanele Mbuyisa, Director - Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys
Lead never leaves the body she says, leading to medical problems for pregnant women and, as a result, their children.
When women get pregnant it leaches out of the bones and crosses the placenta... It can lead to pre-eclampsia and then they might have a child that has neurological difficulties.Zanele Mbuyisa, Director - Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys
The Kabwe mine closed in 1994, after being nationalised and operated by Zambia for 20 years.
However, the Zambian government is not also being held liable says Mbuyisa.
Our experts are telling us that 66% of the contamination that happened, happened during the time when Anglo was controlling, or managing, or giving technical advice at the mine.Zanele Mbuyisa, Director - Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys
Also, when the government nationalised the mine Anglo didn't disappear - they were still invested in the mine and giving advice.Zanele Mbuyisa, Director - Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys
Should the legal action succeed, UK funder Augusta Ventures would receive 25% of the payout.
In most cases, these cases happen in poor communities. They cannot possibly afford to bring these cases to court.Zanele Mbuyisa, Director - Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys
Listen to the in-depth interview below:
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