A Canadian Family

Genealogy & Vintage Postcards

Uranium Mining In Quebec – “a breath of optimism” or an environmental & health hazard?

From waterways for fishing, to land for farming, and forests for logging, Quebec is resource rich. Our economy has always been resource-based and the latest resources to be exploited were those found under the ground; in other words, minerals such as asbestos, copper, iron, silver, titanium and zinc. From a demographic point of view this has obviously affected settlement patterns as Quebec’s earliest pioneers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries settled near waterways and in rich farmlands, while the last “modern” waves of 20th century pioneers settled in new mining regions such as Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Chibougamou, the Cote-Nord, the Grand-Nord, Matagami and Saguenay Lac-St-Jean. Today I’m sharing a vintage postcard of just such an area – the copper (& gold) mining town of Noranda, Quebec.

From a demographic point of view this obviously affected settlement patterns as Quebec’s earliest pioneers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries settled near waterways and in rich farmlands, while the last “modern” waves of 20th century pioneers settled in new mining regions such as Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Chibougamou, the Cote-Nord, the Grand-Nord, Matagami and Saguenay Lac-St-Jean. Predictably this has caused much boom-and-bust development and consequent economic hardship for families who depend on these mines to put bread on the table for their children.

However, nowadays many Quebeckers have begun to question the advisability of certain types of mining. For instance in the last few months there’s been controversy about the safety – and morality – of mining asbestos and exporting it to the Third World. In recent weeks there are new concerns around the projected opening of new uranium mines in Quebec. Uranium was found in Quebec during the 1950s and 60s but there were richer deposits in Western Canada so they were not exploited. Now with uranium stocks dropping and many countries projecting to build nuclear power plants, Quebec uranium has become more valuable. There are many pockets of uranium throughout Quebec (including one just oustide of Noranda) but the one in the news right now is located in the northern, isolated region of Sept-iles, Quebec.

It’s in the news because twenty local doctors who are concerned about the health risks of uranium mining have threatened to resign en masse and leave the Sept-Iles area. So this issue is now pitting the Quebec government, mining companies and labour unions against environmentalists and some healthcare providers. It’s a bitterly cold day and heavy snow has begun to fall, but opponents of uranium mining are gathering in downtown Sept-Iles to demand a moratorium and referendum on the future of uranium mining in Quebec. First hand account of this afternoon’s demonstration (in French) from Gaetan of : Pedale Blais Pedale …

I completely haven’t made up my mind on this issue yet, but it’s difficult to argue with the idea that the whole question bears further investigation.

– Further Reading –

The Case FOR Uranium Mining

Québec Mines – Uranium: a breath of optimism

The Case AGAINST Uranium Mining

Oppose Uranium Exploration and Mining in West Quebec

Radon – Uranium : Informations pour le publique de la Côte Nord

Le silence et l’uranium au Québec

Mines de rien… – Voix publique

– Related Posts On This Blog –

**Asbestos, Quebec (Vintage Postcard Mining Town)

**Why It’s Not ”Nice” For Canadians To Export Asbestos To The Third World

Amos, Sainte-Therese d’Avila Cathedral (Vintage Postcard Mining Town)

Rouyn-Noranda(Vintage Postcard Mining Town)

Got something to say? A Useful Link?

Drop me a line in the comment box below.

En francais si vous voulez!

December 13, 2009 - Posted by | . | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Oh, Evelyn, I’d never heard this! Wow–those are such toxic substances, yet so needed for many things. But to tell you the truth, anything to do with nuclear scares me.

    I have such a great love for your country. I hope the folks in charge over there don’t make any mistakes. You dear people are tooooo wonderful to risk in any way.

    ((hugs))

    Like

    Comment by Beth | December 13, 2009 | Reply


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