Quebec revives asbestos mine with $58M loan

According to the CBC News a few weeks ago, the Jeffrey Mine in Quebec’s Eastern Townships has received a $58-million boost from the province to help revive the asbestos industry, a move the Canadian Cancer Society is urging the government to reconsider. The asbestos mine in Quebec’s Eastern Townships received the loan from the provincial government after years of negotiation and despite heavy opposition.

Paul Lapierre of the Canadian Cancer Society, wrote: “This decision means the Quebec government is in direct conflict with global cancer control as all forms of asbestos cause cancer. We believe these funds should instead be directed to projects to help the affected communities diversify their economic base.”

About 107,000 people die annually from disease related to occupational exposure to asbestos around the world, according to the society. The Canadian Cancer Society claimed the funding from the Quebec government would tarnish Canada’s international reputation. Hundreds of scientists from 28 countries urged Premier Charest to recognize the risks of exposure to asbestos and end the export of asbestos containing products.

Balcorp Ltd., hopes to export asbestos to developing countries. A deal has already been signed with buyers in India. The Quebec government supports the cause and promised a loan of $58 million if Balcorp invests $25 million in the project.

Asbestos exposure can lead to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.