Prospects for Canada's asbestos industry

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 880, 1985

A. IGNATOW, Nonferrous Commodities Division Minerals and Metals Strategy Branch, EMR Canada Ottawa, Ontario

A review is made of some of the principal factors and conditions that are, and will be, important to the over-all market climate for asbestos fibre and for the future of Canada's asbestos industry:— health hazard associated with asbestos exposure;— uncertain international regulatory environment for continued asbestos use;— adverse public reaction to asbestos;— product liability/litigation costs (U.S.A. primarily);— promotion of substitution by governments and asbestos user industries; and— minimal product and market development efforts by asbestos-producing and consuming industries. In addition, Canadian producers, who export some 95 per cent of their production, face additional constraints:— dramatically reduced integration with asbestos-consuming industries;— 60 per cent of exports to most rapidly declining markets (U.S.A., Europe);— increased competition from offshore producers favourably located to growth markets in developing countries;— increasing production costs;— a strong dollar;— disadvantageous freight rates; and— loss of price leadership and price erosion. Future market trends, as well as prospects for Canada's asbestos industry, will be projected in this paper.
Mots Clés: Asbestos, Markets, Health, Production, Substitute fibre, Regulations.