Diamond firm Element Six opens £20m Oxfordshire building

Artists impression of the new building The new centre employs around 100 specialist scientists and engineers

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Science minister David Willetts has opened a synthetic diamond firm's new £20m research and development centre in Oxfordshire.

Mr Willetts said Element Six's new facility in Harwell was "a significant vote of confidence in Britain's advanced manufacturing sector".

The firm makes diamonds for use in cutting tools, electronics and lasers.

The 5,000 m sq (53,820 sq ft) building employs about 100 specialist engineers and scientists.

'World's largest'

Element Six has manufacturing facilities in China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa, US and the UK, with its headquarters in Luxembourg.

It said the new centre in the Harwell science, technology and business campus was the "world's largest" synthetic diamond research and development centre.

The firm's chief executive officer Walter Huehn said it could now "partner with customers to rapidly design, manufacture and test market-ready solutions all under one roof".

The new facility has machinery that will turn graphite into diamonds.

'Talent base'

Industries using synthetic diamond products include electronics, machinery and oil and gas drilling.

Element Six said it chose Harwell "for its world-renowned reputation, proximity to key international connections and the UK's strong science and engineering talent base".

Mr Willetts said the government's UK Trade & Investment department "worked closely" with Element Six on the site, which was designed by science and business park developer Goodman UK.

He said the site would "further position the UK and the Oxford region as an ideal location for future investment".

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