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Then. Photo: Vale Archive
Now. Photo: Vale’s Archive

Vale in the UK 

Founded at the turn of the 20th century, Vale’s Clydach Nickel Refinery began operations in 1902 and since then has been responsible for refining nickel oxide produced by our mines in Indonesia and Canada. 

It was in 2006, after the acquisition of the Canadian mining company Inco, that Vale started to operate the Refinery, which is one of the oldest in the world and one of the largest in Europe. 

Where are we located? 

Vale’s Clydach Nickel Refinery is located in Wales, specifically in Clydach, a charming village in the city and county of Swansea.

Located approximately 10 km northeast of Swansea’s downtown, the village (population 8,000) has a Co-op grocery store, post office, cafes and more. The Refinery, which is situated in the village, is encircled by a woodland with River Tawe and Swansea Canal hugging the property on either side. Inside this naturalized boundary is a grassy area the size of 10 football fields, which we planted to remediate a former production and warehousing facility.  

Learn more

Vale Europe:

Photo: Vale's Archive

What do we do?

Vale’s Clydach Nickel Refinery produces refined nickel in the form of powders and pellets, from nickel oxide produced by Vale's intermediaries. The resulting nickel products are of the highest purity, reaching 99.9%.  

Photo: Vale's Archive

The purity of Vale’s nickel powders and pellets makes our products ideal for specialist applications such as high nickel alloys, as well as plating and stainless steel applications. In addition, the premium nickel products refined here will serve the burgeoning electric car industry. According to a market research study published by Custom Market Insights, the demand analysis of the Global EV Electric Vehicle Market size and share revenue was valued at approximately USD $205.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach around USD $1105 Billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% between 2022 and 2030. 

Photo: Vale's Archive 

In addition to operations  

Respect for the environment: Our remediation work, coupled with good water quality in the River Tawe and Swansea Canal, which hug our property, has earned us recognition by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), a governing body that sets and inspects the parameters by which we operate. Further, to continuously improve environmental performance whilst meeting our business objectives, we operate to the internationally recognised, best-in-class standard ISO 14001. Every year, we are audited by an external third party to ensure we are meeting the standard, and always striving to do better.

Photo: Vale's Archive

On site, we also have an algae farm, a collaboration with Swansea University’s RICE (Reducing Industrial Carbon Emissions) Group. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the nickel refining process are being captured and used to grow algae.

The project aims to demonstrate that industrially derived C02 can be captured and rerouted for growing algae, which in turn produces high-value products in the form of protein and pigments.

Photo: Eira Rowe

Obsession with safety: In addition to ISO14001, we have also successfully earned ISO 45001, which provides frameworks to identify, control and decrease risks associated with health and safety in the workplace, and we are an Upper Tier COMAH site. The Control of Major Accident Hazards 2015 (COMAH) is a U.K. regulation that provides requirements for the storage and use of threshold quantities of dangerous substances, and ensures businesses take all necessary measures to prevent accidents.

  Photo: Vale's archive

Foto de placeholder Photo: Vale's Archive
Our people: Last year, Vale’s Clydach Nickel Refinery proudly received the Silver Standard from Investors in People (IIP), a global project for people management. IIP measures how well a company is leading and supporting its employees in their development, progression and performance. The Silver Standard is proof that our people feel their work utilizes their skills and experience, that they are empowered to take initiative and to make decisions, and that there is a positive culture of continuous improvement, trust, innovation and creativity at Vale’s Clydach Nickel Refinery. 
Our Community: Vale’s Clydach Refinery and its employees have supported more than 40 community initiatives by donating time, money and resources. From employees volunteering to pick up street litter to our financial support for a range of wonderful community organizations including: Vale’s Woodland Walk, an interactive outdoor community garden for school-age children, the Swansea Canal Society, the Clydach Heritage Society, the TY Croeso Food Bank, the Men’s Shed, safe space for all community members to come together, not just men – and so much more!  
In everything we do, we live our purpose: To improve life and transform the future. Together.   

Photo: Men's Shed

Foto de placeholder Photo: Vale's Archive

Get to know the Clydach Nickel Refinery’s Community Report, 2021-22: