Steelmaking re-starts in Lanarkshire
Liberty ‘to invest more’ as Dalzell re-born
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty House, which bought the mothballed plant from Indian firm Tata, said he aims to expand his company’s investment in the Lanarkshire operation.
The plant’s reopening will be marked at a ceremony attended by 200 today. It will produce low-carbon and sustainable steel.
Liberty has already recruited 120 staff for Dalzell, comprising many former employees and several apprentices who have begun training for a variety of jobs.
It is hoped employment will increase to more than 200 within 18 months, as production rises in response to market demand.
The reopened plant will be targeting Britain’s 700,000 tonne-a-year market for plate steel which is estimated to be growing at the rate of 3% a year.
The business has already secured a significant number of orders for plate that will be used particularly in the construction and energy sectors.
In the medium to longer term, the plant, which has a full production capacity of between 400,000 and 500,000 tonnes a year, is expected to not only re-establish its previously-held position in British markets but to develop new routes to market and secure new customers across the UK and abroad.
At a local level it is estimated that the restart of Dalzell will be worth roughly £15 million a year to the economy around Motherwell, both in wages and supply contracts awarded to local businesses.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will officially mark the re-firing of the furnaces.
Dalzell is the last major steelworks in Scotland and, over several generations, has provided Britain with the tough steel plate used in industries such as shipbuilding, construction, mining, oil production and heavy vehicle manufacture.
Speaking ahead of the event the First Minister described its revival as “a very positive signal that the steel and engineering industries still have a future here in Scotland.”
Mr Gupta paid tribute to the support of the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise in helping the company rescue the plate works.
“There is an impressive spirit of partnership here and a determination to give the Scottish steel industry a real future. From our side we promised we would get this important plant open again by the autumn and today we are proud to be fulfilling that promise.”
He disclosed that the neighbouring Clydebridge works at Cambuslang would come back on stream in due course as market conditions allowed. .
Mr Gupta added: “We see great opportunities for investment in Scotland and regard this as a very fertile business environment in which to deliver our Greensteel vision.”
Jon Bolton, chief executive of Liberty Steel UK Plates & UK Steel Development said: “Restarting this mill only nine months after production was halted has been a tremendous achievement.
“Seeing the plant producing steel plate once again is just reward for all the determination and hard work of the team here at Dalzell. We now intend to ramp production up as quickly as the market will allow.”