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Primary malignant tumours of the pleura are uncommon. Thirty-three cases (22 males, 11 females, ages 31 to 68) of diffuse pleural mesothelioma are described; all but one have a probable exposure to crocidolite asbestos (Cape blue). In a majority this exposure was in the Asbestos Hills which lie to the west of Kimberley in the north west of Cape Province. The tumour is rarely seen elsewhere in South Africa.