Steelmaking to resume at Teesside plant


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Steelmaking is to resume at one of the UK's biggest steel plants after plans were finalised to restart its blast furnace, it was announced today.

Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) of Thailand said the blast furnace at its Teesside site in north-east England will restart over the weekend, while the first iron suitable for conversion into steel will be produced within two or three days.

The move will mark the resumption of steelmaking on Teesside following the mothballing of the plant in February 2010.

Phil Dryden, chief executive of SSI UK, said: "I am very pleased that we can now look forward to resuming steelmaking at Teesside after a two-year absence.

"This is an historic event and I would like to record my appreciation to all those who have been involved, for their commitment and hard work, on what has been a complex and demanding restart programme.

"We now look forward to creating a successful and sustainable business which will benefit the local community and external stakeholders for generations to come."

SSI bought the Teesside Cast Products plant from Indian firm Tata a year ago for around £400 million, rescuing the site from the prospect of closure.

Around 1,700 workers are now employed on the site and the figure will increase to 1,800, similar to the numbers on site under the previous ownership.

Redcar will produce steel slab, much of which will be exported to Thailand or sold on the open market for industries includes the automotive sector.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "It is great news that, after a two-year absence, the Redcar blast furnace will be lit again over the weekend.

"I look forward to SSI starting steel production once again in the North East. SSI and its workforce have worked very hard over the last year and should be congratulated on getting to this point."