One Queensland mine worker has filed a $1.1 million lawsuit against a number of mining companies after his silicosis diagnosis. The suit has been filed in the Rockhampton Supreme Court, naming Ernest Henry Mining, Thiess and BMA.
The claimant, Mr Tonkin, worked in mines operated by the companies from 1999 to 2020 as a shovel, haul truck and bulldozer operator. He says the conditions at the mines were dusty and he was neither provided nor required a dusk mask.
He has cited diagnoses including silicosis, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis as a result of the alleged exposure.
He is suing the operators for a combined total of $1,118,292.74. The filing is progressing through the courts, and neither final offers or defences have yet been submitted to the court.
The mining companies have not yet made a comment on the case.
Silicosis is on the rise in Australia, as many workers in the artificial stone industry now revealing their diagnosis from exposure to silica at workplaces.
According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, about 6.6% of Australian workers are exposed to crystalline silica dust, and 3.7% are heavily exposed.