The Associated Octel bromine works at Amlwch, Anglesey, North Wales ceased production in March 2004 and within a few months most of the 120 former employees had left.
The politicians in Cardiff made attempts to save the works but this was in vain and so, after just over 50 years, the production of bromine derived chemicals from sea water at Amlwch stopped.
This brought to an end a history of chemical production in the Amlwch area which had started in 1760’s with the Parys Mountain copper mine. The mine had been an early producer of first element Sulphur, then sulphuric acid as by products from the production of Copper ore.
Both of these chemicals were used at Octel to produce brominated products. The Octel site extracted bromine from sea water using sulphuric acid to help change and concentrate the bromide in the sea water to liquid bromine. The bromine was then reacted with ethylene to produce Dibromoethane (DBE) which was a key component of leaded petrol. With the reduction of sales of leaded petrol in the 1990s. The plant diversified into other bromine chemicals.
Now just 10 years after closure most of the Octel works site has been raised to the ground. Few buildings remain and, like a lot of the rest of Britain’s industrial heritage, in a few years it will be lost and forgotten.
Yet there are still plenty of people around who worked at Octel, they have photographs and memories how things used to operate at the site.
I hope this web site will be able to record some of this history and allow others to provide information about Octel. A company which was vital in the production of Anti knock leaded petrol and went on to produced chemicals used in a wide variety of applications in the field of medicine, water treatment, flame retardants, agriculture and chemical intermediates.
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If you have any information or memories about Octel I would like to hear from you: Please use the contact form above.
Neil Summers, Former Shift Process Manager, Octel Amlwch.