• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Business

First blast furnace to close in Port Talbot

The blast furnace has been operational since 1959 and will make way for a greener electric arc furnace. The other furnace will be decommissioned in September

The Tata Steel site in Port Talbot, Wales. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

ONE of the blast furnaces at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant in Wales will close down by Friday (5), BBC reports.

The furnace has been operational since 1959 and will make way for a greener electric arc furnace.

Engineers have been preparing to decommission Blast Furnace 5 (BF5) from the beginning of this week.

BF5 functioned uninterruptedly until it was hit by an explosion in 2001 that killed three workers. The furnace was later rebuilt and resumed production.

In 2007, the Mumbai-headquartered Tata Steel took ownership of the plant after it bought steelmaker Corus for £6.7 billion.

The other blast furnace will end production of liquid iron in September. With this, the Port Talbot plant will stop making liquid iron from ore.

The move will deprive Britain of “virgin” steel – used to make car bodies and tin cans.

The new electric arc furnace will produce steel from scrap steel.

Tata is seeking to invest £1.25 billion into electric arc furnace technology to try to cut long-term carbon emissions.

Around 2,800 staff from Tata’s 8,000 workforce will lose their jobs.

The workers were planning to go out on an indefinite strike from July 8, but dropped the plan after the company agreed to hold negotiations.

The Labour party, which is expected to win the general election, has urged Tata to avoid action before the vote outcome.

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