Asbestos miners in Cyprus threaten to sue Danish company

A new documentary claims that Danish company FLSmidth did not adequately protect its workers from asbestos in a Cypriot mine, leading to hundreds of deaths

Ticks are carrying a new strain of bacteria (Photo: CDC/ Dr. Christopher Paddock)
March 20th, 2012 4:58 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

FLSmidth, a global engineering firm based in Copenhagen, is being accused of the deaths of hundreds of Cypriot miners who worked at an asbestos mine the company used to own and run.

The allegations were made in a documentary, ‘Den Danske Dødsmine’ (The Danish Deathmine) that was broadcast Monday night on DR1 in which the film crew visited former workers of the Amiandos mine who now suffer from asbestos-related cancers.

The relatives of those who have died are now threatening to sue FLSmidth for allowing the miners to work without any protection in full knowledge that asbestos can be lethal to breathe in.

“The Cypriot government needs to make contact with the Danish company, as FLSmidth has to pay for the many lives that they have destroyed in Cyprus,” George Perdikes, MP for the Cyprus Green Party, said according to DR. “There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have died because of the mine.”

The documentary crew met many former miners who now suffer from asbestos-related diseases who blame FLSmidth for not informing them of the dangers of working in the mine.

“They told us nothing about the danger from asbestos,” former miner Giannis Vrontis said. “If they had told us, I would have never worked in the mine.”

Cypriot authorities have no exact figures on how many people have died as a result of the mine, as many asbestos deaths caused by lung cancer were formerly classified as pneumonia.

But a lung surgeon speaking to the filmmakers confirmed treating a number of patients for cancers that could only have been caused by exposure to asbestos.

FLSmidth’s CEO Bjarne Moltke denied that the company is responsible for any compensation claims, stating that any responsibility was handed over to the new owner when they sold the mine in 1986.

A document from a 1971 conference of asbestos employers, released by DR, reveals that asbestos companies were well aware of the damage to health that asbestos caused.

In another document from 1969, the CEO of company Dansk Eternit Fabrik, then owned by FLSmidth, admits to knowing of the damage caused by asbestos. The document enabled Danish asbestos workers to successfully sue Dansk Eternit Fabrik for damages in 1989.

- – CORRECTIONS – – This story was updated on 22 March 2012 to reflect the fact that the Cypriot miners at this point are only threatening to sue FLSmidth, and that Danish asbestos workers sued Dansk Eternit Fabrik, a then-subsidiary of FLSmidth, in 1989 rather than FLSmidth itself. The Copenhagen Post regrets the errors.

Ticks are carrying a new strain of bacteria (Photo: CDC/ Dr. Christopher Paddock)
Ticks carrying a new form of bacteria
A new strain of Borrelia bacterium is making its way to Denmark is making i...
Summer is on the way. For a day or two... (Photo: tpsdave)
Hate the summer so far? Well, it’s not likely to get much better
The last hope of warm summer sunshine and temperatures look like they will ...
Students have way too many choices, say educators (Photo: Hoodr)
Young people confused by glut of continuing education choices
The number of continuing education choices offered to students, 843 at last...
mad_ud_af
Fire at 400-year-old Jutland inn leads to evacuation of 200 guests
About 200 guests staying at one of Jutland's oldest and best-known inns, th...
Foreigners are buying more and more summer properties (Photo: Hubertus)
Increasing numbers of foreigners circumventing prohibitions and buying summer homes in Denmark
Although the law still forbids foreigners from buying Danish summer homes, ...
Shoppers are scooping up nearly expired food (Photo: Bando26)
Shoppers snapping up last minute food bargains
Shoppers are wild about reduced price foods that are close to their explora...