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Thom Pierce is a talented photographer and filmmaker, who was born in 1978 on the island of Jersey, United Kingdom and currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. Thom shoots a lot of documentary, portrait and fine art photography. Pierce uses photography to explore the cultural, historical and social concerns present in post-colonial South Africa. His work has been featured in The Guardian, Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, NPR and many others blogs, magazines and news publications.

The high court in Johannesburg will soon decide if a class action lawsuit can be laid against 32 gold mining companies in South Africa. Three law firms are representing a group of miners who are applying for this class action on behalf of all miners suffering from Silicosis or Pulmonary Tuberculosis as a result of working in the gold mines.

Silicosis is a preventable but incurable lung disease that is contracted in the gold mines through inadequate protection from silica dust. Miners who contract silicosis get tired and out of breath quickly and are prone to lung infections, respiratory failure and TB.

Public interest law organisation SECTION27, is representing the Treatment Action Campaign and Sonke Gender Justice, who have been admitted as friends of the court. They will ensure that the impact on communities, the health system, women and children is part of the legal representations.

Over a period of 20 days in September and October 2015, I travelled around South Africa’s Eastern Cape, into Lesotho and up to Johannesburg to find and photograph the 56 sick miners and widows.

-Thom Pierce

“The Price of Gold” was made in partnership with the Treatment Action Campaign and Sonke Gender Justice.