Welsh Assembly Government minister Andrew Davies officially opened a new 15.5 million metals recycling facility today, in the port of Newport.
The economic development and transport minister said the facility, run by Sims Group UK and financially supported by the Assembly, was at the “cutting edge” of recycling and “one of the biggest sites of its kind in the world”.
Welsh Assembly minister Andrew Davies at the opening of the Sims Newport site, with Sims UK MD Tom Bird behind
A new rail terminal connects the site to Sims Group's other 29 sites in the UK, saving over 52,000 lorry journeys in the transport of scrap metal to the site over the next ten years. The centrepiece of the site is a giant new shredder, which can process as many as 450 end-of-life vehicles every hour.
Sims Group has invested 10 million in new equipment for the site, which also houses the company's existing fridge recycling plant. A further 3.5 million in investment has been provided by Associated British Ports, and the Welsh Assembly has chipped in a 2 million grant.
Opening the facility today, minister Andrew Davies said: “Sims Group is at the cutting edge of recycling with this new facility, which shows that this industry is wealth generating. This is a great example of how the Assembly is working together with the private sector with a commitment to sustainability, waste management and recycling.”
The shredder at the site was started up six weeks before the official opening today, and works by separating ferrous and non-ferrous metals before these are removed from the non-metal fractions. The 9,200 horse power machine has been provided by manufacturer LYNXS Shredder Technology Ltd, and shreds about 350 tonnes of material an hour.
Sims has installed one de-pollution rig at the Newport, and is to install three more rigs to treat end-of-life vehicles that have not already been de-polluted. Nationwide, the company has spent 1.5 million on new de-pollution equipment to meet the standards under the ELV Regulations 2003 for recycling vehicles that have not entered the site via dismantling firms.
The 9,200hp Linxs shredder at Sims' Newport site can process 350 tonnes of material every hour
The new investment has also seen the installation of a new gantry crane that Sims said could load a 30,000 tonne ship within three days. About 60% of the metals processed at the Newport site are being exported as far afield as South East Asia while the remaining material goes to UK firms incluing Corus and Selsa. Overall, Sims UK exports about two and a half million tonnes of metals each year.
Tom Bird, managing director of Sims Group UK, said the site was “without doubt the premier metal recycling site in Europe”. He said: “This site used to have a staff of just 12 processing 2,000 tonnes of material per month. It now processes 50,000 tonnes per month.
“And, the state-of-the-art fridge plant we have recycles to the highest standards, showing that we have what we need to meet the challenges of the changing world of legislation,” he added.
Sims' 6 million fridge plant at Newport was originally installed in July 2002, but was doubled in size in July this year so that it can now handle 700,000 fridge units a year with its two MeWa machines, from local authorities all over the UK.