Liberty Steel relaunches production in South Yorkshire at night due to soaring energy costs

Liberty Steel UK has relaunched production in Rotherham - but at night due to high energy costs.

By David Walsh
Monday, 1st November 2021, 12:59 pm

The company has re-started its giant electric arc furnace and says it will run from 11pm to 6am when costs are ‘comparatively lower’.

Last month it announced a £50m cash injection to bring sites at Aldwarke in Rotherham and Stocksbridge back into production. They were mothballed following the collapse of lender Greensill in March.

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The Rotherham electric arc furnace will operate at night to maximise efficiency and mitigate high energy costs.

Aldwarke melts scrap to produce steel used in construction projects and ‘high value engineering’ such as aerospace. It is among the UK’s most ‘electro-intensive’ industrial sites.

WHY ARE ENERGY PRICES SO HIGH?

Last month, industry body UK Steel warned a shortage of natural gas in Europe had sent prices for electricity and gas soaring and could force plants into expensive shutdowns.

The £50m funding injection is part of a restructuring drive that aims to create a ‘stable platform’ for the full refinancing of Liberty Steel UK operations, according to chief executive Subhajit Roy Chowdhury.

The £50m funding injection is part of a restructuring drive that aims to create a ‘stable platform’ for the full refinancing of Liberty Steel UK operations, according to chief executive Subhajit Roy Chowdhury.

He added: “As Liberty Steel UK ramps up we’re showing our commitment to make South Yorkshire a UK Greensteel hub.

“Liberty is determined to support the Government’s drive towards a net zero economy and to make the decarbonisation of the UK steel industry a reality. We are committed to supporting the UK’s infrastructure growth plan.”

WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR THE STOCKSBRIDGE STEELWORKS?

The Speciality Steels division in nearby Stocksbridge is also restarting ‘focused production’, although parent company GFG Alliance says it is ’non-core’ and plans to sell it off.

The site buys all its steel from Rotherham and Rotherham relies on Stocksbridge to keep its meltshop going.

Speciality Steels includes Brinsworth strip mill in Rotherham and Performance Steel in West Bromwich.

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