HC Deb 16 June 1925 vol 185 cc265-6
24. Mr. W. BAKER

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the South Liberty Colliery, belonging to the Ashton Vale Iron Company, Limited, has been closed down since June, 1924, and is being, or has been dismantled; that this pit originally employed 500 men and is capable of an output to-day of nearly 2,000 tons per week; that new headgear was installed at a heavy cost in January, 1924; and whether, in order to prevent the destruction of this mineral wealth, the Government will consider the possibility of taking over dismantled pits?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Colonel Lane-Fox)

I am aware of the circumstances referred to. The colliery has been closed on the ground that it cannot be worked except at a loss. I cannot agree with the suggestion made by the hon. Member that the acquisition of such mines by the Government would be in the public interest.


Having regard to the immense importance of conserving our mineral wealth, would it not be well to institute an inquiry into the circumstances, in order to ascertain the exact reasons for closing down?

Colonel LANE-FOX

I am afraid the reasons are only too well known, and I do not think an inquiry would serve any useful purpose.


Is the Minister taking any steps to encourage similar experiments to that of the Vauxhall Colliery, which has been so successful, to prevent these mines closing down?


Would it be possible to tell the House what is the real reason for these collieries being closed down?

Colonel LANE-FOX

I believe the real reason is that they were losing very considerable sums of money, and they could not go on doing that.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether or not some collieries have been stopped in Durham county because of the reason he now states, and yet they showed a profit at the last ascertainment?

Colonel LANE-FOX

That is quite possible, for the conditions have become worse.