Sarnia’s mayor fires angry salvo at group that wants to reopen an asbestos mine in Quebec

Absolute nonsense.

That's the reaction by Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley to an assertion from an international consortium that chrysotile asbestos can be mined and incorporated in products in an entirely safe manner.

The group wants to buy the Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec (in the southeastern portion of the province near the New Brunswick border) and increase production from 15,000 tonnes to 180,000 tonnes by 2012, and eventually to 225,000 tonnes.

The $80 million deal will create 500 jobs and is supported by the workers, their union and the local community, according to consortium spokesperson, Guy Versailes.

In a news release, Versailes claims that apart from legacy cases, Chrysotile no longer creates health problems in Canada because society has  learned how to handle it safely.

Bradley strongly disagrees.

"It's been proven over and over again in various studies that exposure (to asbestos) is life-threatening and that's why it's banned in Canada," said the mayor.

"The federal government should do what it has done with the tobacco industry and move the workers through a transition proram to new training and jobs," added Bradley. "The contrinued export of asbestos is a black mark on Canada's reputation around the world."

Sarnia is seen by some as a hotbed of asbestos-related illness and death due to the use of the mineral in many Chemical Valley operations in years gone by.

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