Pioneers and profits: Copper’s past for copper’s present

White Rock’s enormous smelting hall, known as the Great Workhouse, is a reminder of how technological knowhow combined with business acumen for efficient and unrivalled capacity for smelting and refining. (From Pioneers and profits).

One of the most gratifying articles I have written on copper was published in Materials World, the journal of the IOM3–The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. It is entitled Pioneers and profits and is a short introduction to the history of the copper industry from a Welsh perspective and particularly focusing on the global domination of smelting in Swansea. An important aspect of my work on the ESRC-funded Welsh Copper project was to promote this history to modern-day industrialists and scientists who may feel inspired about the history of copper in Britain but have little idea of the impact it had on business, industrial processes and the landscape. Continue reading

Who cares about copper?

Tap manufacture (Triflow Concepts)

Tap manufacture (credit: Triflow Concepts, courtesy of CDA UK)

Since I started my research on copper I have come across several organisations who say they take a lead or interest in how the world’s copper industry is run. Some are national agencies such as the Copper Development Association UK. Others embrace more than one country such as CDA Inc. and the European Copper Institute. Others take a strategic role such as the International Copper Study Group and the Copper Committee on the London Metal Exchange. Continue reading

A new future for Swansea copperworks site

Vivian engine house, Hafod

Vivian engine house, Hafod (credit: Tehmina Goskar)

Yesterday Swansea Council and Swansea University signed a significant agreement to work together to give a future to the endangered copperworks sites still left in the lower Swansea valley, particularly those around the historic Hafod Works whose bicentenary is being celebrated this year. The story is covered here on BBC online.

Prof. Huw Bowen with whom I am working on the ESRC Global and Local Worlds of Welsh Copper project is leading efforts for a heritage-led regeneration of these sites of international significance. There is a long way to go but we hope that the project will raise much needed awareness amongst people in politics, business, culture, heritage, education and beyond of the importance of the heritage in copper in Wales, and more importantly, the connections it has with other industrial regions in Cornwall/West Devon, Anglesey, Ireland, south Australia, south Africa, Chile, Cuba and beyond with similarly rich copper histories. Continue reading

Imagine life without copper

Imagine life without... (credit: European Copper Institute)

Imagine life without… (credit: European Copper Institute)

As part of a campaign to promote the knowledge and understanding of copper’s myriad applications in our life, a film was been commissioned by the European Copper Institute. The film’s website also provides other information on copper invites visitors to find out more about its often hidden world.

“Be Curious!”

Watch the film on the Imagine Life Without website.

Continue reading