Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in Thetford Mines, Quebec, Friday the Conservative government is reversing course and won't veto listing of asbestos -- a cancer-causing silicate material used in insulation products as a hazardous substance under the international Rotterdam Convention -- the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Paradis said the government will invest as much as $50 million to help Canada's last asbestos-mining region -- Quebec's Eastern Townships -- diversify into other economic sectors.
The government had blocked the listing of the chrysotile form of asbestos as a hazardous substance three times in the past, the CBC said.
Asbestos production in Quebec has been idle the last couple years, but the outgoing Liberal provincial government had issued $58 million to a company to restart its mining and export operations. The incoming Parti Quebecois provincial government promised to cancel the loan.
Quebec produced about 150,000 tons of asbestos in 2010, exporting 90 percent of it to developing countries, the CBC said.
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