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Lawyer Comments On Asbestos Mine Bid

Reports Hint At Imminent Takeover


On Thursday 7 October a consortium from India made an offer to purchase the 130-year-old Jeffrey mine, one of the biggest open-pit asbestos mines in the world.

The mine, which is in the Quebec town of Asbestos, was thought to have ceased operation in October 2009. However, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company, it is now poised to recommence production of asbestos if the bid from a group of Indian investors is successful.

Satinder Bains, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, commented: “This is a very worrying development. While Canada discourages its domestic consumption of asbestos products and implements regulations to limit the release of asbestos from its mines, it remains at the forefront in actively exporting asbestos to Asia and the developing world.

“Canada has controlled a large percentage of the world chrysotile market for decades and its production and exportation of chrysotile asbestos has been a massive profit making operation.

“It is not surprising then that Canadian governments and industry will continue to campaign that chrysotile asbestos presents no risk to health if it is handled in a controlled fashion.  This proposed sale signifies the ties between the two countries, with India remaining one of Canada's biggest asbestos customers. 

“It concerns me that there have been no studies of lung cancer or mesothelioma in India and that the country is simply failing to accept the awful legacy of asbestos use. India needs to step back and look at countries such as Australia, which for three decades were the world’s highest user of asbestos and now holds the record for having the world’s highest recorded incidence of mesothelioma.”