British Steel mulls return of steelmaking on Teesside, reports claim

Hopes of reviving steel production on Teesside have been renewed amid reports that British Steel is mulling a radical move in the region.

British Steel – owned by Chinese giant Jingye after it was bought out of bankruptcy three years ago – is said to be exploring the possibility of building a furnace on Teesside. The move would potentially bring a traditional industry back to the region while also introducing more modern technology, following work by the company to transform blast furnace production into electric arc furnace (EAF) technology.

Electric furnaces generate heat from an electric arc between electrodes, as opposed to blast furnaces which mostly use coke to supply energy necessary to heat up the metal, and they can also use a variety of iron forms which do not need a blast furnace. British Steel’s initial plans revolved around the construction of one large electric furnace at Scunthorpe, but it has now been reported that the company is considering building two smaller EAFs, one in Scunthorpe and the other potentially on Teesside.

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Reviving steel production at Teesworks would potentially create a huge jobs boon for the area, where more than 3,000 people lost their jobs when the SSI plant went bust in 2015. The closure of the Redcar steelworks brought to an end 170 years of steelmaking and had a devastating impact on communities while also leaving a derelict steelworks, which is now one of Europe’s biggest brownfield sites.

A fresh furnace could sit close to British Steel’s Teesside Beam Mill at Lackenby, near Redcar, and Mayor Ben Houchen has spoken of his determination to make the possibility a reality.

Mr Houchen said: “Whilst I can’t discuss any particular investor I may be speaking to, securing the return of steelmaking to Teesside is complicated and difficult to achieve, but I promised to bring steelmaking back to Teesside and I deliver on my promises.”

A spokesman for British Steel told The Times: “While decarbonisation is a major challenge for our business, we’re committed to transforming British Steel into a green and sustainable company providing long-term, skilled and well-paid careers for thousands of employees and many more in our supply chains. As part of our journey to net zero, it is prudent to evaluate different operational scenarios to help us achieve our ambitious goals.”

The reports come a week after a £100m-plus deal was struck to use British Steel on one the world’s biggest offshore wind plants being built at Teesworks. Steel work is being erected as progress continues on the £450m SeAH Wind monopile manufacturing facility at South Bank. The 800-metre-long building will be the world’s biggest monopile facility when complete and is the first of its kind in the UK.

A new £100m-plus deal between SeAH, British Steel and Severfield has now been signed which will see steel from Teesside Beam Mill at Lackenby used in the giant development.

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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