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Chrome, Manganese, Cobalt And Platinum

Volume 961: debated on Tuesday 23 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will indicate the major suppliers of the following metals: chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum and the percentage of total freeworld output produced by South Africa; and what steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take to ensure continuity of supplies to British industry.

The world's major supplies of chrome, manganese, platinum and cobalt are as follows:

Chromium: South Africa, the Soviet Union, Turkey, Albania, Rhodesia and the Philippines.
Manganese: South Africa, Gabon, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Australia and India.
Platinum: South Africa, USSR and Canada.
Cobalt: Zaire, Zambia, Australia, the Soviet Union, New Caledonia, Morocco, Cuba, Canada and Finland.
The percentage of world mine production excluding that of the Soviet Union accounted for by South Africa is approximately chrome 45 per cent., manganese 40 per cent., and platinum 85 per cent. Cobalt is not mined in South Africa.My Department keeps a close watch on matters affecting the security of supply of all raw materials. Responsibility for procurement lies in the first instance with industrial users, but there is continuing and frequent contact between industry and Government on the supply situation.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what he estimates would be the cost to Her Majesty's Government of instituting a stockpile of the following metals based on the equivalence of two years' consumption: chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum.

The initial cost of a stockpile of chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum to cover two years' usage by United Kingdom industry is estimated to be approximately £300 million based on current market prices.