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Cobalt Mining

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what study he is making of the practicalities of mining cobalt in current economic circumstances in the Lake District and Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The Department of Industry funds a comprehensive programme of minerals investigation designed to promote the economic development of our indigenous resources. This includes mapping and reconnaissance programmes carried out by the Institute of Geological Sciences—IGS—which aim to provide information on which minerals exploration by companies can be based; and the Mineral Exploration and Investment Grants Act 1972, under which the Department is empowered to pay contributions of not more than 35 per cent. towards expenditure incurred on searching for or discovering and testing certain mineral deposits—including cobalt—in Great Britain and on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. The IGS operations in the Lake District and in Scotland have not yet detected any indications of economic deposits of cobalt.