Cassiar was a small company-owned asbestos mining town located in the Cassiar Mountains of Northern British Columbia in western Canada. After forty years of operation, starting in 1952, the mine was unexpectedly forced to close in 1992. Most employees were laid off. Efforts to attract new purchasers to keep the mine running company failed so in September 1992 the town, mine and mill infrastructure was auctioned off. The closure was driven by a combination of factors including diminished demand for asbestos and expensive complications faced after converting from an open-pit mine to an underground mine. Most of the contents of the town, including a few houses, were sold off and trucked away. Most of the houses were bull-dozed and burned to the ground in this resource town north of Dease Lake. The mill was briefly reactivated in 1999 by Cassiar Chrysotile Inc which had a reclamation permit to clean up the site. 11,000 tons of asbestos were exported before the mill burned down on Christmas Day of 2000, effectively halting all production. Cassiar was once the largest town in British Columbia north of Fort Nelson, with a population approaching 2,000, its own store, school, hospital, churches and recreation facilities and set in a beautiful alpine valley 100 miles southwest of Watson Lake, Yukon. Asbestos had been known in the area by white men since 1872 and the local Indians had known for centuries that the mountain sheep bedded down on the yellowish-white "fluff" at the north end of Mount McDame. The established asbestos companies in Quebec, Johns-Mannville and Asbestos Corporation thought the deposit too remote, as did ASARCO. Conwest however, recognized the potential of the iron-free long fibre, and in the spring of 1951, began to develop the mine and bring to production, against a monopolistic market, in one of the most inaccessible and remote areas of Canada, the high-grade Cassiar Asbestos Mine. The mine is on the top of a mountain in northern B.C. at 6,000 feet elevation, 86 miles south of Mile 648 on the Alaska Highway and 100 road miles from Watson Lake, Yukon. By 1953 the property was in production. From the beginning it was realized that to maintain a stable work force in this isolated area, provision must be made for married staff. At first the open pit mine was operated only in the summer and ore was stockpiled to feed the mill through the winter but as markets increased it became more economical to operate the mine all year. The product was marketed through Bell Asbestos of Thetford Mines, Quebec, a subsidiary of asbestos manufacturer Turner & Newall of England, whose supply of fibre from South Africa was diminishing. From Whitehorse, the fibre in pallets went by White Pass & Yukon Railway to Skagway, Alaska, then by freighter to Asbestos Wharf in North Vancouver and from there to markets all over the world. For more about the town of Cassiar, check out the website, http://www.cassiar.ca/home/home.htm . For current information on asbestos, the hazards of exposure and to learn how you can help prevent asbestos-related disease, link to and join the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent organization founded in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure. ADAO is the largest victims' organization dedicated to preventing asbestos-related diseases through education and legislation. ADAO's mission includes supporting global advocacy and advancing asbestos awareness, prevention, early detection, treatment, and resources for asbestos-related disease. For more information visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org. This is clipped from the 1960 film "The Cassiar Road (the story of a mine on a mountain top)." Sponsored by the Cassiar Asbestos Company, the film shows the sponsor's asbestos mines in British Columbia, including showing mining and milling operations, grading, packing and transport to the docks in Skagway, Alaska. The mining and milling operations in British Columbia began in 1953. They ceased operations in 1992, when it went the Company went bankrupt and subsequently dissolved. Cassiar did not itself manufacture or sell any finished products. Instead it sold the raw asbestos fibers to manufacturers, including companies such as Johns-Manville, Fibreboard, and CertainTeed.