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Liberty Speciality Steels in South Yorkshire celebrates 300 new jobs in first year

The smaller T-Furnace at Speciality Steels in Rotherham.
The smaller T-Furnace at Speciality Steels in Rotherham.
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Liberty Speciality Steels is celebrating a year since its £100m takeover - including 300 new jobs, £20m invested and a 63 per cent leap in production.

The company, which employs 2,000 at Rotherham and Stocksbridge, says it produced 292,000 tonnes of ‘high-grade steels’ last year and is aiming for 1m tonnes by 2020.

It has re-started mothballed equipment, including the giant N-Furnace at Aldwarke, which tripled melting capacity and helped double production on its adjacent bar mill. And it plans to recruit 30 graduates and apprentices this year.

The company, which bought out Tata on May 1 last year, is also advertising 11 jobs including CND machinist, structural section engineer, two electrical engineers and a process control technician paying up to £45,000.

Jon Bolton, chief executive of Liberty Steels UK, said the plants were on target to continue their comeback.

He added: “It’s exactly a year since Liberty acquired Speciality Steels and what a year it has been, re-opening various assets including a furnace, a small bloom caster and a coil line so we can ramp up production and increase sales into bar markets.

“We took over these South Yorkshire plants at the most difficult of times for the industry, but I believe we are doing the right things and this industry has a bright and sustainable future in the UK.

“For me, the future relies on attracting new people into the industry and investing in their skills.”

Mr Bolton said the UK steel industry had a huge opportunity to reclaim its own home market, currently dominated by imports.

But it needed to become greener and more integrated with the manufacturing supply chain. Speciality Steels was at the forefront under the GreenSteel banner - a low-carbon method of steelmaking by recycling scrap using renewable energy and manufacturing products closer to end users.

He added: “Our Rotherham operation has 1.3 million tonnes of liquid steelmaking capacity and our aim is to build nationwide GreenSteel production capacity of 5m tonnes.”