Zim’s white chrysotile not condemned

In Zimbabwe asbestos is commonly used as building material for roofing homes.

Due to the low cost, it is popular in high residential areas and in informal and illegal settlements countrywide.

Despite health issues raised by other spheres, the Zimbabwean Government noted that while the use of the blue amphibole type of asbestos has been prohibited internationally, the white chrysotile type which is produced in the country has not been scientifically condemned outright as a harmful substance if used in a controlled manner.

The country is also looking to resuscitate two of its asbestos mines in Shabanie and Mashava.

The two mines have the capacity to produce 180 000 metric tonnes of chrysotile asbestos fibre of which 90 percent was meant for export.

Speaking to the media in 2014, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said; “Zimbabwe still has the potential to be one of the world’s largest producers of high quality chrysotile asbestos fibre and contribute immensely to employment generation and the downstream industries.

“We look forward to our asbestos mines in Shabanie and Mashaba running again.

“The resuscitation of the mines will significantly cut on the asbestos fibre imports, create jobs at the mines and downstream industries.

“As you may all be aware, the past two decades have witnessed intense international lobbying against the use of, and trade of asbestos fibre. While the use of the blue amphibole type of asbestos has been prohibited internationally, the white chrysotile type which is produced in Zimbabwe has not been scientifically condemned outright as a harmful substance if used in a controlled manner,” Bimha said.

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