HC Deb 28 February 1939 vol 344 cc1084-5
66. Mr. Beechman

asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the large quantity of pitch-blende in the west of Cornwall, he will cause a survey to be made for the purpose of ascertaining whether radium can be obtained there from in sufficient quantity to justify development?

Captain Crookshank

I am advised that, although pitch-blende is known to occur in several places in Cornwall, very few deposits have been of commercial value. These deposits have now been worked out or contain such low grade ores that they do not justify processing for the recovery of radium. The Geological Survey of Great Britain, for which my Noble Friend the Lord President of the Council is responsible, is now completing a comprehensive investigation into the mineral resources of Cornwall, and in these circumstances it does not appear that any advantage would accrue from the institution of a separate survey of the kind suggested.

Mr. Beechman

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that the production of pitch-blende in West Cornwall was initiated before the War, and was abandoned during the War because the operations happened to be in charge of a German? Is it not in the national interest that these resources should be properly investigated?

Captain Crookshank

My hon. Friend's question deals with having a survey, and I have just pointed out that the Geological Survey of Great Britain is now completing a comprehensive report.