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Final Asbestos Mine in Quebec Quits Plans to Reopen

An asbestos mining company in Quebec recently announced that it has abandoned plans to revive one of the last asbestos mines in the province.

The Lac d’Amiante du Canada mine (LAC) at Thetford Mines, Quebec, was closed down after a landslide caused mining operations there to be halted. Following the closure, the Committee to Re-launch the LAC Mine was formed to try to resume operations, according to RightOnCanada.ca.

About two months after the closure the company that operated the LAC mine, LAB Chrysotile Inc., declared bankruptcy. And now Simon Dupéré, the company’s president, has announced that plans to reopen the mine have been suspended indefinitely.

According to the news source the reason for this was because of recent decisions by the Canadian and Quebec governments that signified opposition to the resumption of asbestos mining in the country.

Jeffrey Mine has loan canceled

Earlier this month the president of the Jeffrey Mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec, Bernard Coulombe, said that the $58 million loan from the government that would have revived the closed mine had been cancelled, reports the Montreal Gazette.

The prospect of the loan has been a major source of controversy in recent years, with health advocates decrying the fact that Canada was exporting asbestos around the world while restricting its use domestically.

Dangers of exporting asbestos

While the use of asbestos is highly dangerous everywhere, it can be especially harmful when used in developing nations – such as the ones that were buying Canadian asbestos – because there are fewer regulations governing its use.

Any amount of asbestos exposure can have deadly consequences as the inhalation of the deadly mineral fibers has been proven for decades to cause a range of serious illnesses such as asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that attacks the thin membrane that lines the body’s chest, lungs and abdomen.

These diseases claim the lives of 107,000 people each year around the world, according to World Health Organization figures.

New Quebec government deserves praise

Dupéré said that the Parti Québécois’ newly formed government made it clear that the asbestos industry would no longer be supported, according to RightOnCanada.ca. According to Dupéré, it would now be virtually impossible to attract the foreign investors needed to reopen the LAC mine.

Canada Blocks Asbestos from Hazardous Chemical List

Canada blocks asbestos from hazardous chemical list Despite the fact that Canada has been criticized from nearly every corner of the globe over its asbestos policies, the country has decided to block the listing of the carcinogenic substance as a hazardous chemical.

According to the Toronto Sun, countries from around the globe are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to debate the listing of chrysotile asbestos as hazardous under the Rotterdam Convention, but Canada is not budging.

As a result, the country is drawing even more criticism from officials at home as well as leaders from other countries, the news source said.

“The government says that the product is safe if used in a certain fashion but they’re refusing to ensure that the buyer is told to beware,” said Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton. “This is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable.”

Asbestos Remains Deadly Killer Around the World

While Canada fights to keep its asbestos industry alive, scientists continue to assert the dangerous properties of the material, particularly when individuals inhale the naturally occurring mineral fibers.

The inhalation of asbestos fibers has been proven to cause a range of serious illnesses, which include lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the tissues surrounding many of the body’s internal organs.

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 2,500 Americans receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. All told, asbestos-related diseases kill approximately 107,000 people around the world every year, according to the World Health Organization.

Canadian Officials Continue Pushing for Right to Export Carcinogen

While Canada has regulated the use of asbestos in its own country – much like many governments across the globe – industry officials still argue that they have the right to export the dangerous material to countries looking to purchase it.

According to the Sun, Industry Minister Christian Paradis says that Canadian companies have a number of incentives to continue exporting asbestos, from supplying developing countries that want to use it to creating jobs at the Jeffrey Mine in Quebec.

The Quebec government has lent a hand to the mine as well, offering it millions of dollars to keep it operational, according to the news source.

At some point, however, many government officials say that those pushing for the continued mining and exportation of asbestos need to realize the consequences their actions are having on others in different countries.

“Without exaggeration, we are exporting human misery on a monumental scale and yet we are taking active steps to ensure that companies do not even warn their customers,” NDP MP (Member of Parliament) Pat Martin explained.

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