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Friday, September 24, 1999 Published at 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK

UK: Wales

Nickel plant brings jobs to blackspot

The plant will be Europe's largest nickel refinery

A new 10m pound Nickel refinery has opened at an unemployment blackspot in south Wales.

The move will bring 30 jobs to Clydach in the Swansea Valley.

BBC Wales's Rebecca John reports on the new plant's opening
Expansion of production facilities makes the Inco plant, the largest refinery in Europe.

The new facilities will make extra fine nickel powder and nickel foam, which are the raw material for advanced batteries and various electrical appliances.

The production process at Clydach will complement that used in the firm's plants in the United States.

The company hopes the plant will help them capture a slice of the emerging market for hi-tech batteries developed to power electric and hybrid vehicles and electric bicycles and scooters.

More economic

Some of the leading car companies in the United States, Japan and Europe are currently investing in vehicles powered by nickel batteries.

The batteries increase the range of electric powered vehicles and make them more economic to run.

Electric powered vehicles would also improve air quality in congested urban areas, particularly in Asia and Europe, said the company.

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