• Friday, April 12, 2024


Tata Steel to stop coke oven operations at Port Talbot unit

The Indian company said the decision was taken following a decline in operational stability.

A general view of the Tata Steel site on January 18, 2024 in Port Talbot, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA’S Tata Steel on Monday (17) announced its decision to halt functioning of coke ovens at the Port Talbot plant in Wales due to a decline in operational stability. Coke ovens are crucial manufacturing facilities or blast furnaces utilized for producing coking coal, a vital raw material in making of steel.

“Tata Steel UK will increase imports of coke to offset the impact of the coke oven closures,” a statement from the steelmaker said.

In January, the company announced its intention to close its two blast furnaces in Britain by end 2024 as part of its strategy to revamp its unprofitable UK steelmaking business by transitioning to lower carbon electric arc furnaces.

Read: Tata Steel seeks subsidies to decarbonise Port Talbot steelworks

Tata Steel CEO T V Narendran had previously said in an interview with Reuters that the closure of these two plants would result in 2,800 workers losing their jobs at Port Talbot, a decision opposed by three trade unions.

Read: UK okays joint investment plan with Tata Steel for Welsh steelworks: ‘Historic support package’

The Indian company said on Monday it is in “advanced stage of consultations” with trade unions in the UK on its restructuring plans.

Following the restructuring, the steelmaker plans to switch to low-carbon electric arc furnaces, a proposal backed by £500 million of government money.

“We regret to announce that we have been forced to make the decision to cease operations at Morfa Coke Ovens from Wednesday 20 March as a result of significantly deteriorating operational stability,” Tata Steel UK CEO Rajesh Nair said.

“The performance of the coke ovens has been deteriorating over many months, despite some Herculean efforts by the teams there. The condition of the ovens has now worsened to a level making continued operation untenable. We will now begin the process of safely closing and purging the coke ovens, and ceasing operations at the adjoining by-products plant,” he added.

The company is the largest steelmaker in the UK with primary steelmaking at Port Talbot supporting manufacturing and distribution operations at sites across Wales, England and Northern Ireland as well as Norway, Sweden, France and Germany.

It employs more than 8,000 people and has an annual crude steel capacity of five million tonnes, supplying high-quality steel products to demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering.

(With agency inputs)

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