The asbestos issue is back on the agenda of the Quebec and Canadian governments, with multibillion-dollar projects to extract magnesium and other minerals from the mountains of waste left by asbestos mining companies. According to Quebec government health authorities, the waste contains up to 40 per cent asbestos. Houses, schools and public buildings are nearby.
The projects require moving the waste, thus disturbing the asbestos fibres and presenting a serious health risk to workers and the community. A pilot project is underway. The final decision from the Quebec government is pending.
All 17 Quebec directors of public health asked the federal government to include asbestos mining waste in its regulations to ban asbestos. The government rejected their request, exempted the mining waste and invested $12 million in the projects.