Steel site ready for re­open­ing

Rutherglen Reformer - - Green FIngers - Edel Ke­nealy

Cly­de­bridge steel works will re­open as soon as pos­si­ble, the com­pany at the heart of the Scot­tish steel re­vival has said.

Lib­erty House rea f f i rmed its com­mit­ment to the Cam­bus­lang plant on the same day it re­sumed op­er­a­tions at its sis­ter plant Dalzell on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 28.

The com­pany, which bought both plants from Tata Steel ear­lier this year, said mar­ket con­di­tions would de­ter­mine the timescale for the re­open­ing of the plant in Cam­bus­lang. But Lib­erty House also said that de­ci­sion would be made in the short to medium term.

Speak­ing at the re­launch of Dalzell Jon Bolton, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Lib­erty Steel UK Plates and UK Steel De­vel­op­ment, said: “Lib­erty in­tends to bring Cly­de­bridge back into op­er­a­tion as soon as the mar­ket al­lows.

“The plant has had sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment over the past five years, en­abling it to add value to the plate rolled at Dalzell. In ad­di­tion, Lib­erty will ex­plore ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties that take ad­van­tage of the sites’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

In­ter­na­tional in­dus­trial group Lib­erty House res­cued Cly­de­bridge and Dalzell in April af­ter both plants were closed by Tata Steel in De­cem­ber 2015 amid a global steel cri­sis.

The busi­ness be­lieves the La­nark­shire plants are per­fectly po­si­tioned to im­ple­ment its ‘Green­steel strat­egy’ for a com­pet­i­tive, low-car­bon and sus­tain­able steel in­dus­try. The strat­egy in­volves cre­at­ing steel by re­cy­cling scrap us­ing a process pow­ered by re­new­able en­ergy.

Lib­erty has re­cruited around 120 staff for Dalzell, com­pris­ing many for­mer em­ploy­ees from both Dalzell and Cly­de­bridge, who were made re­dun­dant when Tata Steel seized op­er­a­tions.

Ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the Lib­erty House Group San­jeev Gupta paid trib­ute to the sup­port of the Scot­tish Govern­ment and Scot­tish En­ter­prise in help­ing the com­pany res­cue the plate works: “There is an im­pres­sive spirit of part­ner­ship here and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to give the Scot­tish steel in­dus­try a real fu­ture,” he said.

“We see great op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vest­ment in Scot­land and re­gard this as a very fer­tile busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in which to de­liver our Green­steel vi­sion.”

The Scot­tish Govern­ment cre­ated the Scot­tish Steel Task­force in De­cem­ber 2015, pay­ing some staff a retainer to re­main avail­able should a buyer for the plant be found. It also re­duced busi­ness rates and helped im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency at Dalzell in a bid to make Scot­tish steel more at­trac­tive to po­ten­tial in­vestors.

Mar­garet Ferrier, MP for Cam­bus­lang, said: “Al­though the Scot­tish Steel Task Force has com­pleted its ob­jec­tive of find­ing an al­ter­na­tive op­er­a­tor for both of the Scot­tish steel plants, as an ac­tive mem­ber of the All Party Group on Steel I con­tinue to work con­struc­tively on a cross-party ba­sis at West­min­ster to fight for the steel in­dus­try right across the UK.

“I’ve been keep­ing in close con­tact with Lib­erty Steel, who are ev­ery bit as ea­ger as I am to see pro­duc­tion re­sume at Cly­de­bridge. The com­pany re­mains firmly com­mit­ted to re­open­ing the plant, and mak­ing Cam­bus­lang a steel town once again.”

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