Over the weekend, the blast furnace at the former Corus steelworks in Redcar was relit – a move that will trigger the return of steelmaking to the site, according to owner SSI.
The plant will process scrap ferrous metal, offering a recycling boost for this material stream.

Thai-based SSI has taken on more than 1,000 workers – many of whom lost their jobs when previous owners Tata Steel mothballed the site in 2010 with the loss of 1,600 jobs.

The first steel slabs produced will initially be shipped to Thailand, but it is hoped some could be used in the UK for wind turbine manufacture.

The plant’s four gas stoves have been heating up since February to reach the required temperature of more than 1,200 degrees C.

According to SSI UK’s chief executive Phil Dryden, the occasion marked an historic event. He said: “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.

“I am very pleased that we can now look forward to resuming steelmaking at Teesside after a two year absence.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable has also welcomed the news. He said: “SSI and its workforce have worked very hard over the last year and should be congratulated on getting to this point.”

The blast furnace was due to be relit last December, but it was delayed by technical problems and industrial action.

Maxine Perella

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