HC Deb 03 March 1910 vol 14 cc1066-7W

asked the Patronage Secretary to the Treasury, whether the experiment of working the Band gold mines in South Africa by indentured Chinese labour has now come to an end; whether the number of white labourers there employed has largely increased; whether the miners now employed, whether black or white, are free from the servile conditions under which the Chinese were engaged; and whether he has any official information showing that the effect of the change has been beneficial or disastrous to the mining industry?


The last indentured labourers from the Rand are now at Durban awaiting shipment to China. In January, 1907, when the maximum number of Chinese were employed, the number of white labourers on the Rand mines was 17,198. In December last the number had increased to 23,077. The comparative figures for other classes of labour for the same months are:—January, 1907, natives, 94,221; Chinese, 53,856; December, 1909, natives, 168,665; Chinese, 2,038. The Chinese were engaged on special conditions which do not apply to any other form of labour and have come to an end. In connection with the last part of my hon. Friend's question, it will be sufficient to quote the following figures from the reports of the Transvaal Government Mining Engineer:—Output of gold—1906–7, £26,640,000; 1907–8, £28,508,000; 1908–9, £30,986,000. Number of tons milled per year for each coloured labourer employed, 1906–7, 110 tons; 1907–8, 113 tons; 1908–9, 123 tons. Working cost per ton—1907–8, 19s. 7d.; 1908–9, 17s. 4d.