World’s largest copperworks site to be remediated

A local authority and a university have signed a deal to work on the remediation and regeneration of what was once the World's largest copperworks site.

The plans are in the early stages but the internationally important Welsh site will, it is hoped, eventually be opened as an education centre.

Regeneration work at Swansea’s historic Hafod Copperworks site, which closed in 1980, moved a step closer this week to becoming a reality after the deal.

The Hafod Copperworks contains 12 Grade II listed buildings and structures and is considered of international importance in terms of its industrial heritage.

The council and the university are to work on a feasibility study to jointly explore the potential to preserve and develop the historic buildings on the site and to investigate sources of funding.

Swansea University also sees potential to develop some of the historic buildings on site into a significant educational and research facility.

Professor Huw Bowen, who is leading the project team on behalf of Swansea University, said: “Exploring ways of developing the Hafod Copperworks site for the benefit of future generations offers us the chance – perhaps the last chance – of ensuring that visible signs of Swansea’s immensely important industrial achievements are not lost forever.

“It’s especially appropriate that this deal will be signed during the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Lower Swansea Valley Project.

“That path-breaking regeneration project showed what can be achieved when universities and local authorities work in close partnership with one another.

“It’s now hoped that the heritage-led feasibility study can find ways of maximising the economic, social, and educational potential offered by the Hafod site.”

Swansea Council is also working with Swansea University to mark the 200th anniversary of the first copper ingot rolling out of the Hafod Copperworks.

A festival of talks, tours, activities and information is planned for Saturday March 5 to raise awareness of the significance of the Welsh copper industry, its heritage and the place of copper in our lives today.

Luke Walsh

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