The old abandoned asbestos mine
The old abandoned asbestos mine

The old abandoned asbestos mine

The old abandoned asbestos mine

A walk in the white gold country

Région des Appalaches (Quebec), Canada

The use of asbestos by man does not date from yesterday. Already, more than 2000 years ago, the Greeks used in making funeral clothes. Its name comes from its property to withstand fire: άσβεστος (asbestos, meaning "indestructible").

Its many industrial uses will make it a popular ore when a lode will be discovered in the Thetford Mines area in 1876. Thenceforth, the agricultural landscape of the hinterland will be changed forever. In 100 years, Quebec will become the leader in this industry and will produce in 1976 more than 80% of all Canadian asbestos. The area then saw its golden age which ranks 2nd largest asbestos producers in the world, just behind the Soviet Union.

Five companies share the mining operations in the region. Slowly, the industry will strangle by the reports about its dangers and, in September 2012, after the refusal of the Quebec government to offer a subsidy to revive the last mine in the region still active, Abestos industry will end in the area.

In 1970, studies estimated that more than 3,000 products contain asbestos. Today, asbestos is found in all kinds of industrial and consumer products (brake blocks, asbestos cement pipes and even in children's toys). According to the Le Devoir newspaper website, between 2004 and 2014, Canada imported $ 250 million of products made with asbestos.

Despite the closure of the mine, there was plenty of activity on the site. A guard carries out patrols and the factory basement is used for recyclable bale storage (cardboard, plastic, metal, tires, etc.) from Lévis.

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