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Economic Development

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 9 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on economic developments in Swaziland, including plans for the construction of a railway and concessions for iron ore and other mineral exploitation.

Since 1948, 273 square miles in Swaziland have been afforested. A pulp mill is being established which will convert this timber into wood pulp for export. Thanks to irrigation schemes, 29 square miles have been planted to sugar cane. Two sugar mills have been established to cope with this cane. The present production target is 80,000 tons of sucrose sugar a year. On one irrigation scheme rice and citrus are being grown.Iron ore deposits have been proved at Ngwenya near the western border of Swaziland. The building of the Swaziland Railway, of which I informed the House on 24th October, will permit the development of these iron ore deposits. The Swaziland Administration is considering the terms of a mining lease to the Swaziland Iron Ore Development Company, which now holds an exclusive prospecting licence in that area.The Havelock asbestos mine is at present the largest mineral development but production of iron ore from Ngwenya is expected in 1964 and deposits of coal and anthracite have been proved near the eastern border of Swaziland. The proposed line of the railway should facilitate their development in due course.