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The Banket: A Study of the Auriferous Conglomerates of the Witwatersrand and the Associated Rocks

Nature volume 100, pages 281282 (13 December 1917) | Download Citation



THE British Empire is not uniformly fortunate in its natural resources of the useful and precious metals. The ore-supplies of some of these, e.g. copper, aluminium, platinum, and mercury, as at present proved, are either deficient or entirely wanting”. In such cases partial or complete dependence upon foreign sources is unavoidable, unless and until greater supplies are discovered. In other cases, although the known ore-resources are plentiful, the domestic output of metal has hitherto been inadequate owing to a deplorable lack of metallurgical enterprise within the Empire-raw materials, or partly smelted products, of British origin being exported to foreign countries and reduced to metal by foreign skill and labour. Zinc, lead, nickel, and until recently tungsten, may be cited as notorious examples, and for supplies of these metals British consumers have been placed in an unwarrantable position of insecurity. In a few cases, however, e.g. tin and gold, not only are the ores abundant, but they are smelted entirely within the Empire, and furnish metal sufficient, in normal times, both for Imperial consumption and for export. Cases of this kind should and could be more numerous, and that they will be, in the future, is already indicated by the birth and remarkable growth of a British tungsten industry since the inception of the war, and by the steps that are now being taken to ensure a greatly augmented Imperial production of nickel, zinc, lead, and iron.

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