Asbestos mining in Wittenoom

Mesothelioma cases in Australia

Mesothelioma is mostly found to be caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos and is considered a rare type of cancer. The cancer develops from the protective lining of most of the internal organs of the body where the cells of the lining mutate.

Due to the excessive asbestos use of different occupations, environments and products, cases of mesothelioma are increasing in Australia. It is expected that the total number of mesothelioma cases will reach 18,000 in Australia by the year 2020 according to the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare. The country first mined asbestos within the 1880’s in New South Wales and continued to mine it for more than 100 years.

Wittenoom asbestos mining industry

In the 1930’s, during the great depression, Wittenoom was a place where blue asbestos or crocidolite was be mined by unemployed men to attempt to make a living. Wittenoom is within Hamersley Range, now called Karijini National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Prospectors started the industry as they attempted to reap the vast amount of profits they could make from mining and selling asbestos.

In 1943, Colonial Sugar Refining Company purchased a small mining and milling company from Lang Hancock and Mulga Downs. The CSR company funded and helped build Wittenoom town for the miners and their families. Wittenoom saw a number of people looking for work due to a high level of unemployment after World War II. Wittenoom became the largest Western Australian town in the 1950’s where immigrants from other countries decided to live and work due to the high rate of unemployment from where they came from.

There were increasing evidences of asbestos causing mesothelioma to the people by the 1960’s, but this was ignored by government authorities and CSR. The Wittenoom mine and mill was closed in 1966 due to financial reasons and not because of the health dangers of asbestos. The town of Wittenoom was closed in 2006 and later was removed from the map in 2007.

Since the mine was closed, around 300 out of 1,500 mesothelioma cancer patients have been identified to be from Wittenoom. The families and people who once lived in Wittenoom are under constant stress over the high possibility of contracting cancer.

Today, asbestos is recognised as a very real threat to commercial and residential properties. Companies like Asbestos Removal Australia can help anyone save themselves and everyone around them from the dangers of asbestos, so if you think your property may be in danger, call them today.


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