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Thursday, 23 April 1936

Senator COLLINGS asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice - -

1.   Whether in view of his answer to a question by Senator Collings on 18th March, regarding the. Yampi Sound iron ore deposit, he has seen the reference to this matter in the Report on Foreign Affairs of the Empire Parliamentary Association, volume XVI., No. 0, November and December, 1935, as follows: - "It is reported that early this year Japanese interests endeavoured to obtain the lease of the vast iron ore deposits in Yampi Sound on the West Australian coast. The Commonwealth's policy to refuse to grant rights to foreigners for the exploitation of natural resources led to the failure of this attempt to gain an economic foothold in Australia".

2.   Further, seeing that the report also says : " It has been announced recently that the firm of Brassert's Limited, the English company that obtained the Yampi Sound concession, simultaneously contracted with the Nippon Mining Company, of Japan, for the sale of millions of tons of their ore output", will he tell the Senate what steps, if any, were taken to prevent the sale to Japan of this Australian asset.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I have not seen the report to which the honorable senator refers. In reply to a question asked by the honorable senator on the18th March, 1936, I stated that the granting of mining leases is the prerogative of the State Government. It is understood that M. A. Brassert and Company Limited, an English company, has been granted mining leases at Yampi Sound by the Government of "Western Australia, and that the company proposes to dispose of its iron ore output to Japanese interests. The sale of iron ore to Japan or any other nation is just as unrestricted as is the sale of wool, wheat, beef, mutton or any other commodity. In any case it would serve no object, and itwould notbe desirable, to prevent a foreign country from obtaining iron ore from this source. As the iron ore deposits of the world are so extensive, there are many other sources of supply outside Australia which are available to such countries.

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