§ Mr. WATT (for Mr. H. C. Lea)
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state the date of the first lease of guano phosphate property obtained by the Pacific Islands Company on Ocean Island, the amount the company therein agreed to pay the natives, and whether the company by this first lease obtained the whole or only a part of the land on which the guano phosphates are found; and if he will give for each year, from 1900 to date, the tonnage and the value of the guano phosphates exported from Ocean Island?
§ Colonel SEELY
The date of the first agreement made by the Pacific Islands Company, Limited, with the natives of Ocean Island was 3rd May, 1900. The company agreed in it to pay the natives £50 per annum for the exclusive right to raise and ship all the rock and alluvial phosphate on the island. I am informed that, in addition to the sum payable under this agreement, annual and other sums (which amounted in 1908 to over £l,100) are paid to individual native owners. The tonnage of phosphates exported is as follows:—
§ His Majesty's Government have no information as to the precise value of the phosphates exported, which, of course, depends on the prices of the market.