Blast furnace rebuild strengthens future of steelmaking in Wales

Corus is to invest £185 million into the No 4 Blast Furnace at Port Talbot steelworks. The investment will make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the steel industry in Wales.  The furnace is to undergo a rebuild, starting in July 2012, which will equip it with technology to improve its safety, environmental performance and reliability.  The project will yield the additional benefit of balancing the iron and steel making capacities at Port Talbot, increasing the capacity of the two blast furnaces by up to 400,000 tonnes per year.

Corus MD & CEO of Tata Steel Europe, Kirby Adams said: “This investment is a major step in achieving Tata Steel’s ambition to position Port Talbot as a producer of high-quality strip products on a global scale and an internationally competitive cost base.  Our capital expenditure decisions aim to invest in those who invest in themselves.  The commitment and capability shown by our South Wales employees to meet the challenges posed by the downturn, together with the constant support we have received from the Welsh Assembly Government and the local community and unions, are important factors that have led to this decision. “As a result of this project the Port Talbot works and our downstream supply chain will be able in the coming decades to continue improving the quality of products and services provided to their UK and overseas strip product customers.”

Corus Chief Operating Officer Karl-Ulrich Köhler said: “This is a major investment designed to provide Port Talbot No 4 with a long new campaign life of 20 years.  The furnace’s energy efficiency and productivity will also be improved.  Following this project and the rebuilding a few years ago of the No 5 Blast Furnace, Port Talbot will be equipped with two world-class iron making facilities.” David Ferris, Chair of the Multi Unions at Port Talbot, said: “This is a massive boost for the area.  Following our recent announcement that we are taking on some 150 young people, this news promises them a strong future – and a sustainable future for the whole community.”

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