HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1488-9
21. Mr. Lee

asked the President of the Board of Trade from what main sources the United Kingdom obtains copper supplies; whether he is satisfied that industry is able to obtain sufficient for its requirements; what is the stock position; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The main sources are Northern Rhodesia, Canada, Chile and the United States. I have no reason to suppose that industry is unable to obtain sufficient copper for its requirements. Stocks with the trade were about 78,000 tons at the end of November, amounting to two months' requirements.

Mr. Lee

Is the Minister aware that the vast increases in manufacturing potential which have taken place, and will continue to take place, are jeopardising the supply of vital raw material of many types, including, for example, nickel? Is he further aware that for supplies of copper we are dependent upon imports from the dollar area and that there is no guarantee that, with increasing manufacturing potential, that supply will last much longer? Will he ask his right hon. Friend to examine the position of scarce raw materials in a far more detailed manner than any reply so far has indicated is being done?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Any suggestion or contribution from the hon. Member will, of course, be closely and sympathetically examined. The hon. Member will appreciate that the largest supplier of copper is, in fact, Rhodesia.

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