Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

CQ Black Lung Victims Sue Miners for $5M Victims of Black Lung Sue

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

CQ Black Lung Victims Sue Miners for $5M Victims of Black Lung Sue

Article excerpt

Byline: Campbell Gellie

COURT papers have been filed by three miners seeking more than $5million from companies as the next stage in the black lung saga plays out.

Former underground coal miners Allan Leslie Matsen, Gavin Shane Anastasi and Allan James Thomson have filed lawsuits for a combined $5.287million from five different companies.

The men from Mirani, Bundaberg and Rockhampton are suing Glencore, Anglo American, Arco Coal Australia, Rio Tinto and BM Alliance, claiming the companies failed in their duty of care to workers by not warning them about the dangers of coal dust while working in their mines.

Now, they're claiming the mine operators' failure to care for them resulted in them developing black lung disease, known as coal workers pneumoconiosis.

This follows what is believed to be the first black lung Supreme Court case filed, against 16 companies, by Jason Bing in June. It hasn't progressed.

A second came in on June 20 when 67-year-old Kevin Bruce McPhail filed a $1.52million lawsuit at Mackay Courthouse against Glencore after working at Oaky Creek No. 1 Mine between 1990-2010.

Mackay lawyer Craig Worlsey filed that case and these new cases separately; however, the claims suggest all the mines operated the same way, supplying the men paper dust masks which weren't compulsory to wear.

It is claimed that the mine owners are to blame for not warning the miners about the dangers of coal dust and supplying them only with a paper dust mask that they were not required to wear in the underground mine.

The masks were for "when the dust conditions became uncomfortable" the court documents read.

It is also claimed the mining giants did not ventilate the mines to a point where the level of dust in the air was below the legal standard.

For most of the men's careers the disease was thought to have been eradicated from Queensland mines, until it re-appeared in May 2015.

That sent alarm bells through the industry and brought about an inquiry into how the risks from coal dust were being treated. …

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