Thousands of former gold miners suffering from silicosis have launched a class action suit in SA, in what could prove the final nail in the coffin of the mining sector, says a BDlive report. It may also have implications for government, with some suggesting the government should be charged with complicity as it earns royalties and collects taxes. Already theirs is the biggest class action in SA’s legal history, involving more than 17 000 complainants. And the list is growing by about 500 people each month, according to lead attorney Richard Spoor. Academic calculations estimate about 280 000 people have worked in gold mines for a minimum of 10 years,long enough to inhale dangerous levels of silica dust. Activists argue the disease is preventable, if only operators invest in making the mines safe. The report adds that a watershed Constitutional Court ruling in 2011 which allowed sick workers to sue their employers has emboldened the gold mineworkers and opened the floodgates.