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Nigeria (Copper Production Grant)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 19 May 1943

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asked the Secretar of State for the Colonies whether, in respect of the grant of £750,000 made to the Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines to increase copper production in Northern Nigeria, this development will employ more Africans; whether conditions will be attached to such grant and employment with respect to family accommodation and some proportion of permanent settlement with reasonable amenities; and whether conditions will be imposed preventing colour-bar practices and the adoption of the, recommendations of the Commission into the Copperbelt disturbances?

The Ministry of Supply is making a grant of 50 per cent. of the cost of certain capital expenditure at the Nchanga copper mine for the purpose of obtaining an increase in output. Within that expenditure a sum of £135,000 is provided for the building of a township and native housing. There is no information here as to the exact items upon which the £35,000 will be spent, but the company is asking its local management in Northern Rhodesia to supply this information. The Ministry of Supply contract does not include provisions dealing with the matters referred to in the second and third parts of the Question.

May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman whether, when this grant is actually made, conditions with regard to the welfare of the African workers can be embodied in it, particularly in regard to work of a superior character, so that the colour bar does not operate, and, further, that certain wage standards should be established and general welfare provisions made with regard to the conditions of employment?

The hon. Gentleman will realise that this grant is made by the Ministry of Supply for the express purpose of increasing copper output during the war, and that must be the primary consideration.