Sheffield Forgemasters: £100m plans lodged for giant new forge set to safeguard 600 jobs

Forgemasters has lodged plans for a giant new forge building in a project set to safeguard 600 jobs and cost up to £100m.

Thursday, 7th July 2022, 12:02 am

The Brightside steelmaker is seeking permission for a ‘large industrial extension, equipment, chimneys, 11 tanks and a pumping station’ dubbed Project Conan.

It would house a 13,000-tonne press - estimated to cost £100m - which is in secure storage after being shipped from Japan.

The new building will be the first since the historic firm was acquired by the Ministry of Defence last year, when it pledged to invest £400m over the next decade.

Giant ingots in the forge at Forgemasters

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A planning statement with the application states it will secure the future of the company, keep it at the forefront of the steel industry and lay foundations for growth.

It adds: “This investment will safeguard a business within one of Sheffield's historic industries which have played a significant part in the growth of the city.

“In the immediate term, the development will deliver significant investment in the local economy and secure over 600 skilled jobs while laying the foundation for future investment to allow further modernisation of SFEL's facilities.

The steelmaker is seeking permission for a ‘large industrial extension, equipment, chimneys, 11 tanks and a pumping station dubbed ‘Project Conan’.

“These benefits of the proposed development are considered to be significant for the economy of Sheffield and given SFEL's position at the forefront of the steel industry in the UK, these benefits will be important to the national economy.”

A cover letter states the planning application fee is £40,661 to be paid to Sheffield City Council.

A flood assessment states the risk is ‘very high’ - Forgemasters was famously inundated in 2007. To mitigate risks the proposed works include an offsite pumping station and onsite storage tank.

David Bond, CEO at Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd.

A target date of 2025 has been set for the new press to be operational.

In August last year chief executive David Bond said the building would allow them to create larger components.

He added: “Installing a forging line of this scale is a significant undertaking and the scope of the civil engineering requirements is still being analysed, but we would anticipate a time-line of several years to completion.”

In recent years, Forgemasters’ main profits have come from specialist forgings and castings for submarines and Navy warships. It is also hoping to make parts for a new fleet of small nuclear reactors.

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