Top Asbestos producing mines in Quebec are now OUT OF BUSINESS for good. Finally, Canada has ended the battle to keep their asbestos industry alive. Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced that the federal government will “no longer oppose global rules that restrict use and shipment of the substance”. Quebec’s new premier, Pauline Marois, promised late in her campaign that she would shut down the region’s asbestos mines for good. Moreover, the nearly $60 million dollars previously allocated to revitalize the mining industry will be put toward economic diversification in the area. Approximately 400 – 500 Asbestos miners will NOT be put back to work; however that pales in comparison to the number of lives this decision will save.
In 2010 Canada produced 150,000 tonnes of asbestos. All of it mined in Quebec and ninety percent (90%) of it exported. Canada’s asbestos export sales were about $100 million a year, and the industry employed a few hundred people. Canada has received much criticism for its stance in support of the asbestos industry. It seems; however, with the new regime and shift in leadership has come a new perspective. Earlier this year, the Chrysotile Institute, a powerful industry lobbying group, closed after it stopped receiving government support. Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper remains a staunch supporter of the now defunct asbestos mines, he has been spending millions of dollars to remove the last traces of asbestos in the Parliament Buildings and his official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. A hypocrisy that has not gone unnoticed.
In a statement, Paul Lapierre, a spokesman with the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), said. “We are very pleased to see that the government recognizes that all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, cause cancer. It’s imperative that the health of people around the world be put ahead of the interests of the asbestos industry. We also welcome the government’s $50 million plan to support the affected community.”
The mining has come to a stop in Canada, but the United States continues to import asbestos. Imported under strict regulations perhaps, but imported in large quantities none-the-less; 1,100 tons in 2011. Russia, China Kazakhstan and Brazil are amongst the largest exporters of Asbestos in the world. May they, like Canada, also be encouraged to follow suit and end their asbestos production for good. Surely there is some bean-counter out there that has come to the obvious deduction that the cost or expense associated with asbestos removal and the monies paid for the medical treatment and research for he victims of asbestos exposure FAR out-way the benefits of this cheap fire retardant mineral. If everyone stops buying, there will be no need for mining and or production.