Investment to see 130 jobs at Metalysis

Ian Briggs METALYSIS, the company which uses a patented technique to cut the costs of producing metals, is set to create more than 130 jobs after receiving a £2.75m cash boost.

As well as creating jobs, the investment by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward will be used for further research and development in order to scale up the firm's process to produce commercially viable volumes of metal and establish a manufacturing plant.

Metalysis, based in Wath-upon-Dearne near Rotherham, holds the licence to exploit the patented FFC (Fray, Farthing and Chen) Cambridge process; an electrochemical technique discovered by Professor Derek Fray and co-workers in the materials department at Cambridge University.

The process uses a molten salt with a current passing through it to turn metal oxide into pure metal 'sponge', which can then be processed as it is, or ground into a powder.

The method allows metals which are normally expensive and difficult to extract to be produced at a significantly reduced cost because the metal remains in a solid state so no melting takes place and powder is produced directly from its oxide.

Key applications for the metals and alloys include the aerospace, electronic and medical sectors.

Metalysis is looking to establish a manufacturing facility in South Yorkshire to produce the metals and expects to employ 137 people by 2010 at the chosen site.

Dr Graham Cooley, chief executive of Metalysis, said: "We are delighted that Yorkshire Forward is supporting this exciting technology.

"With this investment we aim to complete the process of taking a Cambridge University invention through from core research and proof of commercial principle into commercial production.

"This support will help us establish the infrastructure necessary to start production in South Yorkshire – production that might otherwise have gone overseas."

Alex McWhirter, head of enterprise at Yorkshire Forward, said: "Metalysis is an excellent example of a company in our region exploiting world class technology on an international platform. They have already secured exclusive global rights to the technology and are now gearing themselves up to become a major player in the metals sector."

Yorkshire Forward made the investment with 1.25m coming from a European Union Inward Investment grant to support the research and development element, and a 1.5m grant from the Selective Finance for Investment in England scheme, managed by the regional development agency on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry, which helps to assist with capital investment projects, to set up the manufacturing plant.