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Wednesday, 1 September 1937

Senator E B JOHNSTON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

With reference to the Minister's statement to the Senate on the 26th August that the Government has not prohibited the export of iron ore from Yampi Sound -

(   1 ) Is the Minister in a position to state that no such prohibition will be imposed by this Government?

(2)   If so, will the Government convey this assurance to the Yampi Sound Mining Co. and other persons engaged in the development of those deposits ?

(3)   Is it a fact that operations at Yampi are being suspended as a result of the uncertainty consequent on previous ministerial statements on the subject?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I invite the honorable senator's attention to the following statement made by the Prime Minister in the House of Representatives on the 31st August: -

I wish to dispel any misapprehension that may exist in regard to the attitude of the Commonwealth Government in connexion with the export of iron ore from Yampi Sound. In connexion with potential supplies of iron ore a preliminary survey has been made which shows very considerable deposits in sight, sufficient for all our requirements for a great many years ahead. However, this survey is incomplete, and it, is believed that much greater supplies exist than have been taken into account in this preliminary survey. A more detailed and comprehensive examination is now in hand. In regard to the proposed export of iron ore from Yampi Sound: The leases were granted to Brassert & Company by the present State government in Western Australia. The Commonwealth Government is aware of no reason why it should interfere. The Government regards the necessity for any limitation on the export of iron ore on the grounds set out above as unlikely. The responsibility for constant watchfulness for the conservation in the national interests not only of the resources of iron ore but also of the essential non-ferrous metals is one which falls on the Commonwealth Government. This responsibility the Government accepts and will act upon whenever and in whatever connexion it is necessary.

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