§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I beg to ask the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that proposals have been made to the Transvaal Government under which a monopoly for the importation into the Transvaal of cyanide of potassium and all compounds of cyanogen, now for some years largely in use in that country for the extraction of gold from minerals, would be granted to a single individual or Company, and under which a very heavy tax could be imposed on the gold industry, in which some millions of British capital has now been invested; if he is aware that much of this capital has been invested under the impression that the means used in this industry, such as mercury and cyanide of potassium, were subject in their use only to the conditions existing up to now; and if the Colonial Office will use its friendly offices with the Transvaal Government to prevent this great injury to the gold industry of the Transvaal in the interests of the industry and of British investors, who own the greater part?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. S. BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
I have no official knowledge of the facts set forth in the first two paragraphs of the hon. Member's question. But I recognise the importance of the matter as 1631 affecting the mining industry, and upon a proper representation from the interests affected being made, Her Majesty's Government would be prepared favourably to consider the question of making a friendly representation to the Government of the South African Republic should the facts seem to warrant such a course.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
I will take steps to lay the facts before the hon. Gentleman. Will he, in the meantime, prevent any further action in the direction indicated in the question?