Jeffery Asbestos Mine's Government Financing Deal Extended

Quebec’s government agreed Monday to grant the Jeffery asbestos mine an extension for finding private investors. The mine is in danger of closing if it cannot find the funding to expand its mine by Oct. 10. Originally, the mine was required to solidify its investors by Aug. 15, but the government threw them a second lifeline to stay open.

The Jeffery asbestos mine is one of two in Canada. Both of the mines are located in Quebec. According to an article in Reuters Africa, the Jeffery mine in Asbestos, Canada needs to raise $25 million to for the government to loan the $58 million required for expanding the mine. The article said the project would guarantee another 25 years of asbestos mining in a mine that has been operating for well over a century.

Although the asbestos was a material often used in construction, it has been banned in most developed countries. In Canada, the Hazardous Products Act and the Environmental Protection Act heavily regulate its use.

But while the country doesn’t use asbestos locally, it is the world’s fifth largest exporter, sending mainly to developing countries like India. India and other developing countries receiving shipments of asbestos do not have the regulations in place to protect their workers from handling the material. In Quebec, many groups protest the government’s support of this industry, believing that exportation of the substance should be made illegal.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen responsible for mesothelioma, asbestosis and other lung diseases. Reuters reported that more than 107,000 people die every year from asbestos related diseases.

Canadian supporters of the asbestos industry claim that chrysotile asbestos, the type mined in Quebec, is less dangerous than other varieties. The Quebec government famously refused twice to include chrysotile asbestos on an international list of hazardous materials sponsored by the United Nations.

Canada asbestos mine financing deal extended
Reuters, August 15, 2011

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