Thetford Asbestos Mine – Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine, Québec - Atlas Obscura
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Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine, Québec

Thetford Asbestos Mine

A scenic overlook of a pit mine hundreds of meters deep filled with blue water. 

The area around Thetford Mines was once one of the most productive mining areas for asbestos in the world. Though the mines are now closed, you can still peek down into one.

In the 1850s, significant deposits of chrysotile, the most commonly used form of asbestos, were found in Thetford Mines, Quebec, south of Quebec City. For years, the city grew as workers came to work in the mines; the city even had to move to make way for the growing production.

In 2012, Canada shut down all its asbestos mines, and today turquoise water fills all the old mines. Surrounded by piles of their own mined rock and gravel, the pits dwarf the neighboring towns.

An observation deck has been set up beside the British Canadian Mine, closed since 1997. From Highway 112, the view of the dump is quite spectacular.

Know Before You Go

Highway 112 near Black Lake and Thetford Mines. You can't miss it.