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Friday, 26 August 1921

Senator EARLE (Tasmania) .- For the information of the Committee, I may say that I know something of the history of this company. Every provision is now made in the southern part of Tasmania to supply practically the whole requirements of Australia in carbide of calcium. The company referred to had considerable financial difficulties in the initial stage, not only in connexion with the erection of their plant, but also in connexion with the provision of electrodes to carry on smelting. It was found that during the war period the imported electrodes were absolutely unreliable, and, owing to this, considerable loss was suffered. The company then proceeded with the erection of furnaces and presses necessary to manufacture their own electrodes, and the electrodes they are now turning out are equal to any that have ever been imported. In fact, this company is exporting electrodes successfully - quite a " featherin the cap" of Australia. The company, by means of their own electrodes, successfully produced carbide, and filled up their stores, but found that the Japanese and Norwegian manufacturers had got" into the Australian market before them. The market became overstocked, and the Australian company could not sell their product at anything like a reasonable price. Carbide was selling as high as £40 to £50 a. ton, but generally at £37 or £38, and the company made a compact with the Commonwealth Government that if an embargo were placed on importations, they would sell at £30. That compact holds good to-day.

Senator Pearce - The company are selling at that price now.

Senator EARLE - So far as I know, the duties provided in the schedule, if the market is not glutted by the dumping of surplus carbide from other places, will enable this company to provide a reliable supply for the whole of Australia.

Item agreed to.

Item 274 (Bromide salts,&c.), . agreed to.

Item 275 -

On and after 31st October, 1921-

(a)   Sulphur, per ton, British, 15s.; intermediate, 20s. ; general,50s.

(b)   Pyrites, per ton, British, 15s. ; intermediate, 20s. ; general 25s.

(c)   Pyrites the produce of Papua or of any Island or Territory belonging to or administered under mandate by the Commonwealth, 5s. per ton.

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