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New lease of life for old industries is not without controversy

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Nick - Web Team Nick - Web Team | 08:55 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A couple of stories caught my eye this morning concerning our old industries.

First, there's Green light for gas test drilling near Wrexham where Composite Energy - a company which searches for Coalbed methane in old mining areas - has been given permission for a 60-day trial drill at Hollybush Lane, Penley - despite local opposition.

Wrexham county once had 50 pits [archive: north east Wales coalfield] and Composite Energy has earmmarked two sites for closer inspection, the other being Bowling Bank, near Wrexham Industrial Estate, subject to permission being granted.

Meanwhile, an internet auction is under way this week with a sell-off of heavy equipment at the former Air Products factory, Acrefair, Wrexham, which closed in December with the loss of 200 jobs.

For nearly 50 years, the Acrefair works produced gas and related equipment for a wide range of industries. Its products included huge pressure tanks for air separation, natural gas liquefaction and hydrogen purification.

But after a review of operations last year, the American owners, Air Products, rejected a cost-saving rescue plan drawn up by trade unions and decided to switch production to a factory in China.

A spokeswoman for Air Products said some equipment from Acrefair had been moved to the company's other sites, but anything surplus was being sold off.

She said the buildings housing the manufacturing and packing lines had been sold to another company.

Work is expected to start next month on clearing the remaining buildings on the site, but no decision has been taken on what to do with the land.

And finally, overseas gold prospectors are in talks with The Crown Estate about taking on the licence at the famous St David's mine in Bontddu, near Dolgellau.

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