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Tidal lagoon power an opportunity for UK minerals sector

Tidal lagoon

MPA says tidal energy projects likely to generate significant demand for range of UK mineral products

RECENT proposals to develop a network of tidal energy lagoons should represent an opportunity for the UK mineral products sector and the wider construction supply chain it supports, suggests Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

The proposals, which received open support from Energy Secretary Ed Davey, would potentially see six lagoons constructed – four in Wales and one each in Somerset and Cumbria.

 

The first, in Swansea Bay, is already at an advanced stage of the planning process with a decision expected later this year, and the developers, Tidal Lagoon Power, have now released proposals for the second site, which would use a 22km long breakwater to enclose 70 square kilometres of the Severn Estuary between Cardiff and Newport.

The MPA says the projects are likely to generate significant demand for a range of UK mineral products, not only during their construction, but also during the resultant regeneration activity that is likely to take place as a consequence.

In the case of the 1.2km long Cardiff Bay Barrage, the initial £200 million construction investment provided a catalyst for more £2 billion of regeneration activity, including housing, commerce, leisure and industrial development.

‘The mineral products sector represents one of the last traditional heavy industries that remain in Wales,’ said Nigel Jackson. ‘Given the desire for half the capital expenditure of these projects to take place in Wales and 65% in the UK, the mineral products sector and the wider supply chain it supports should be well placed to make a substantial contribution towards their success.

‘The sheer scale of these projects also means that the wider regeneration opportunities that can be expected to follow could provide further opportunities for the mineral products sector over the medium term.’

Sustainable sources of affordable energy are a key consideration for the UK mineral product sector, elements of which represent energy- and carbon-intensive processes.

 

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