The West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum is investigating evidence of an asbestos contamination at Rio Tinto's West Angelas iron ore mine, in the Pilbara region.
According to ABC News, global miner Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) has confirmed the presence of brown asbestos found last month in landfill materials brought in from the nearby Holcim quarry at Newman.
A Rio Tinto spokeswoman says exposure levels were below the occupational exposure limit and employees were immediately informed.
The Holcim quarry has voluntarily shut down its operations.
The article quotes a a memo to Environment Minister Peter Kent, obtained via the Access to Information Act, which showed the scientific panel for the UN's Rotterdam Convention was on solid ground in 2002 when it first proposed the listing of chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen mined in Quebec, as a hazardous material on Annex III of the convention.
Asbestos is banned in over 50 countries and is strictly controlled in Canada.