Clydach nickel refinery power plant gets green light

A nickel refinery in Swansea has been granted a change to its operating permit to allow the development of a power plant.

The Environment Agency Wales said the process of creating gas from waste, called pyrolysis, would not be harmful to human health or the environment.

Vale Europe Ltd plans to use the gas to generate electricity for its plant in Clydach.

Any excess would then be sold back to the National Grid.

The plans also include extending and altering existing buildings, as well as the construction of a 41m (135ft) high chimney.

Local people, businesses and a number of professional bodies had been consulted by the agency before the permit change was allowed.

The nickel factory, known locally as the Mond, first opened in Clydach in 1902 and employs around 220 workers.

Vale Europe Ltd, which makes products for mobile phone batteries and hybrid-electric vehicles at Clydach, aims to produce all its own energy on site.

The Canadian-owned company, which said it operates under very strict emissions limits, has added: "This investment will help create a long-term competitive future for the refinery".

Steve Brown, from the Environment Agency Wales said: "We have scrutinised the application rigorously over the last few months including a full consultation on any possible health or environmental issues."

Mr Brown said "detailed information" from the company shows they have plans in place to operate the plant "to the highest environmental standards".

"Now that we have granted the permit, we will monitor operations at the facility closely to make sure the company continue to operate within the requirements of the permit," he added.

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