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Pictures | Fri Dec 28, 2012 | 1:21pm EST

Ex-miners seek silicosis class action vs. South African firms

Former gold miner Thulani Bitsha, 39, stands in the doorway to his home near Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. Bitsha worked underground in the country's gold mines for 13 years before being diagnosed with silicosis, a debilitating lung disease. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

Former gold miner Thulani Bitsha, 39, stands in the doorway to his home near Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. Bitsha worked underground in the country's gold mines for 13 years before being...more

Former gold miner Thulani Bitsha, 39, stands in the doorway to his home near Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. Bitsha worked underground in the country's gold mines for 13 years before being diagnosed with silicosis, a debilitating lung disease. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files
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Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. Silewise worked underground in the country's gold mines for 44 years before being diagnosed with silicosis, a debilitating lung disease. AREUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. Silewise worked underground in the country's gold mines for 44 years before being diagnosed...more

Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. Silewise worked underground in the country's gold mines for 44 years before being diagnosed with silicosis, a debilitating lung disease. AREUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files
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Former gold miner Thulani Bitsha (L), 39, talks to paralegal assistant Noncedo Mbalo at his home near Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

Former gold miner Thulani Bitsha (L), 39, talks to paralegal assistant Noncedo Mbalo at his home near Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

Former gold miner Thulani Bitsha (L), 39, talks to paralegal assistant Noncedo Mbalo at his home near Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files
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Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files

Former gold miner Senzele Silewise, 81, talks to paralegals in Bizana in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province in this March 7, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files
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