Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sulphuric Acid Supplies.

Major de Valera

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state to what extent the supplies of sulphuric acid required annually in this country are dependent upon (a) imported pyrites, (b) other imported materials.

The supplies of sulphuric acid required annually in this country are dependent upon imported pyrites to the extent of nearly 97 per cent. Sulphuric acid is not manufactured in this country from any other imported raw material, but about 2 per cent. of total requirements is derived from spent oxide available within the country.

The very small balance of requirements is met by imports of sulphuric acid.

Major de Valera

Are there any investigations in progress designed to use our native pyrites for this purpose? The Parliamentary Secretary may be aware—he probably is—that there are certain difficulties involved, and that it was the subject of investigation some years ago with a certain amount of success. Is there any prosecution of these investigations with a view to lessening our dependence on the import of pyrites for this important chemical?

As the Deputy is aware, this matter has been under consideration for some considerable time. The establishment of a plant has not yet reached the stage at which a decision can be arrived at.

Major de Valera

The question is, how best to use our native pyrites which are usable in certain conditions.