The Jeffrey Mine loan makes sense, demand for asbestos is high – by John Aylen (Montreal Gazette – July 20, 2012posted in Asbestos, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Mining and Oil Sector Image |
John Aylen is a spokesman for the Jeffrey Mine
Alana Wilson’s opinion piece of July 19 (“The asbestos bailout: your tax dollars, not well spent”) draws conclusions based on erroneous facts. As with any argument based on misconceptions and half-truths, the conclusions that follow do not hold.
One of the principal assertions Ms. Wilson makes is that the market for chrysotile is declining. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chrysotile asbestos is in high demand as an effective, low-cost and safe material used in the production of cement roofing tiles and pipes. Throughout the developing world (60 per cent of the world’s population), the need and ability to put a low-cost roof over the heads of the poorest of the poor is steadily increasing.
The demand for chrysotile has risen since 2008, and this fact was a key consideration in the reopening of the Jeffrey Mine and in the Quebec government’s decision to provide a loan to the venture.
The initiative will see substantial economic benefits to the region in terms of job creation, raising the standard of living of the people of the region and diversification of the area’s businesses. Factoring in both the direct and indirect jobs combined with the future diversification of the region’s economy are variables that Ms. Wilson fails to factor in when she casts the government’s loan as an overly expensive subsidy, which of course it is not by any stretch of the imagination.
The $58-million loan is a government-to-business transaction between Investissement Québec and the mine, on terms consistent with market standards, with the government as a secured creditor and payment terms that include reimbursement of the principal with interest, plus $25 million payable by Mine Jeffrey Inc. to a regional economic diversification fund. Some subsidy! Of course, the mine will also be paying corporate income taxes, mining duties and municipal taxes.
Finally, Ms. Wilson’s assertion that the loan guarantee to the Jeffrey Mine will exacerbate a manpower shortage in the mining industry elsewhere is nothing short of absurd.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Montreal Gazette website: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Jeffrey+Mine+loan+makes+sense+demand+asbestos+high/6964193/story.html