Liberty Steel has outlined plans to increase production at its Rotherham steel operations, with a target of 1 million tonnes per annum. This includes increasing production at its Thrybergh Bar Mill to seek to increase its share of the 1.2m tonne UK rebar market, over half of which is from imports. There are also plans to add capability to produce wire rod to feed both engineering and construction markets.
Commenting on the announcement, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“At a challenging time for our steel industry Liberty reaffirming their commitment to the UK, while setting out an ambitious plan for the future, is extremely welcome. There is no doubt that steel will be vital to rebuilding and rebooting our economy and steel companies must be ready for the opportunities that will come. It is hugely encouraging that Liberty are investing so they can contribute to essential infrastructure projects like HS2 that will drive the recovery and create jobs. Community firmly believes Liberty’s strategy to displace steel imports is the right one, but we need government to support this by using procurement policy to ensure our domestic infrastructure is built with our own steel.”
Liberty Steel Group Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta said:
“It has been three years since we acquired the business from Tata Steel and expanded steelmaking at Rotherham under our Greensteel vision for the UK. Since then we’ve made vital upgrades to the plant, doubling production, and returned the business to profitability before it was affected by a Brexit impacted weak steel market in 2019 which has been followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the new developments at Thrybergh Bar Mill the business is well prepared to win a greater share of the construction market in the UK with a competitive Greensteel rebar offering for projects such as HS2 which will lead to a significant boost in production at Rotherham.”
The company has also publicised its intention to build an electric arc furnace at its site in Newport. The proposal is part of the steel group’s ‘Greensteel’ strategy.
The company said in a statement that the development “is contingent on a competitive investment environment and the completion of SIMEC Atlantis Energy’s (SAE) sustainable power station conversion project at the adjacent Uskmouth power station in South Wales.”
Liberty Steel’s Greensteel production model aims to recycle the growing amount of UK steel scrap using electric arc furnaces powered by low carbon or renewable energy.