Canadian asbestos production and exportation continues to grab the headlines in two recent stories.
While the Conservative government’s official line is solidly behind the Quebec-based asbestos industry, it seems that at least some individual Conservative MPs aren’t entirely sure of that position.
A group of Conservative MPs recently asked industry experts to meet with them on Parliament Hill to discuss the issue. Representatives of the Chrysotile Institute and industry scientists attended a private meeting with them that lasted several hours. It remains to be seen whether this will affect their or the government’s stance on this controversial subject.
At one time, the Canadian asbestos industry ranked first in the world, supplying about 85% of the world’s production in the early parts of the last century. The fireproof and nearly indestructible qualities of asbestos made it seem ideal for construction, and it became a much valued commodity worldwide until the early 1970’s, when its danger to human health became more and more evident.
Times have changed drastically over the last four decades. In November 2011, Canadian asbestos production fell to a complete halt for the first time in 130 years. As this blog reported recently, investors in the monster Jeffrey Mine are waiting on Quebec government approval for loan guarantees in order to re-open. It’s reported that operational issues are behind the closure of the only other operational asbestos mine, the Lac d’amiante du Canada site in Thetford Mines.
As these temporary issues get sorted out, activists on both sides of the asbestos exportation issue continue to lobby for support.
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