The town of Asbestos, Canada will seek a new name after acknowledging that the moniker “does not have a good connotation – particularly in English-speaking circles”
Founded in 1899 and named for the “grey gold” found in its surrounding hills, the French-speaking town in Quebec once boasted a thriving mining community. However the mine suspended operations in 2011, with the municipal government of Quebec cancelling a $58million loan promised to reopen it a year later.
Now the town has said it needs to move past its heritage for harvesting the hazardous mineral. “As the word ‘Asbestos’ does not have a good connotation, particularly in English-speaking circles, it is a brake on the city’s willingness to develop economic relations abroad,” the local authority said in a statement.
“It is therefore in keeping with the will of the municipality to be dynamic on both the citizen and economic levels that the decision to change the name was made.”
Known as Amiante in French, asbestos refers to six naturally occurring minerals composed of long fibrous crystals. It was used for centuries as a material renowned for its heat resistance and electrical insulation.
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