§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Whether it is the intention of the Government to grant a sole concession of the right to win and export Trinidad asphalte from the Trinidad Pitch Lake to any person or persons; and, if so, upon what terms as to minimum rent, royalties, and term of concession; whether he is aware that the supply of such asphalte is practically inexhaustible; whether many 681 and advantageous offers have been made to the Government by various persons for the concession; and, what course has been adopted by the Government to invite tenders for the concession?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir HENRY HOLLAND) (Hampstead)
I stated, in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool (Mr. Baden-Powell) on the 7th of June, that the Government and Legislature of Trinidad were considering an offer by the lessees of part of the Pitch Lake to take a lease of the whole on terms which would insure a minimum royalty of £10,000 a-year. That offer, and the whole question of dealing with the lake, are still under the consideration of the Colonial Legislature, and it is expected that their opinion will be expressed about the 1st of September. It is believed that the supply of asphalte is practically inexhaustible. I am not aware that any other offer has been made for an exclusive concession, nor would any person, except those who held leases of portions of the lake, be able to make such an offer. The Government is not in a position to invite tenders for an exclusive concession, as part of the lake is already leased for a considerable period.