Tata Steel warns of blast furnace shutdown

The group is reportedly considering the move unless long-term government support offered

Big Zero Report 2022

Tata Steel, which operates two blast furnaces in Port Talbot, has warned that it may shut down one of the furnaces unless the government outlines long-term plans to support the industry by this summer.

The Indian company has informed ministers that it needs details of support by July to justify a potential multi-billion pound investment in green steelmaking facilities at its South Wales site.

The steelmaker has expressed concern over the current level of assistance and criticised the recent budget as a missed opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the industry.

Officials are in negotiations with Tata Steel and British Steel, the only other firm operating blast furnaces in the UK, to provide £300 million each to boost investment in green technology.

One of the Port Talbot furnaces is set to wind down over the next few years, leaving Tata Steel with a decision to extend its life, close it or replace it with an electric steelmaking facility.

Without new technology, permanent closure could result in thousands of job losses and further damage to the UK’s struggling industry.

Energy costs have long been a concern for industrial firms such as steelmakers, and the government has promised to cut such costs through a “supercharger” scheme, although it will not be implemented for at least a year.

A Department for Business and Trade spokesperson told ELN: “We are providing extensive support to our vital steel industry on energy costs, fair public procurement and protecting the sector from unfair trade.

“Our recently announced British Industry Supercharger is cutting energy costs for steel manufacturers, ensuring they are in line with other major global economies. And our recent reform of trade remedies was welcomed by the entire industry, including UK Steel, who called them ‘hugely significant’.

“This proves we are listening to what the UK steel industry needs to maintain stability and support jobs across the country.”

ELN has approached Tata Steel and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for comment.

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