HC Deb 06 May 1943 vol 389 c306
73. Dr. Little

asked the Minister of Supply whether, in view of the pressing need for iron required for war purposes, he will order a fresh survey to be taken of the Dromara and Dechomet districts of County Down, where iron-ore is available to meet many of our war needs?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (Mr. Sandys)

The iron-ore deposits in these districts were examined by experts two years ago. The results of this examination were given to my hon. Friend in reply to a Question on 16th October, 1941. I do not feel that any fresh information would be obtained by holding a further investigation.

Dr. Little

In view of the most unsatisfactory answer and the fact that I have visited the Dromara mines and have formed my own opinion, I wish to ask my hon. Friend whether he is aware that what is required to make the Dromara mines a paying proposition and useful in the war effort is the installation of a thorough pumping system, and that electricity is there awaiting it? Will he do that, as it is a shame and a crime that this state of affairs should exist?

Mr. Sandys

What is needed is a higher grade ore in the ground. These deposits have been examined by experts, and the bulk of the deposits have been found to contain a high measure of impurities and not to be suitable for steel making. We have plenty of low grade ore all over the country.

Mr. Stokes

Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House the percentage of iron in this ore, or give any indication of it?

Mr. Sandys

I could not do so without notice.