BRITISH Indian industrialist Sanjeev Gupta invited Prince Charles to reignite a furnace in northern England which had been mothballed by Tata Steel, its previous owners.
The N-Furnace at Liberty Speciality Steels in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, is an electric arc furnace which forms part of a multi-million-pound investment by Gupta’s Liberty House Group.
It is the larger of the Rotherham plant’s two electric arc furnaces mothballed by Tata Steel in 2015.
Switching this furnace back on is “a pivotal moment in the revival of UK steelmaking and we are very pleased His Royal Highness is able to share this hugely symbolic milestone with us,” Gupta said.
The occasion makes “a very powerful statement that steel does have a future in Britain and that is very good news for the whole of our manufacturing and engineering sector,” he added.
The 800,000-tonne-a-year furnace, which turns scrap metal into specialised steel for uses such as vehicle gearboxes and aircraft landing gear, will help Liberty’s “green steel” strategy, aimed at pursuing a cleaner production process.
Liberty acquired the plant last year, as part of a wider GFG Alliance and created 300 jobs at Rotherham and its sister plant in Stocksbridge, as well hundreds more across the UK after a series of acquisitions in the sector.
When Gupta bought the business in May 2017, he had pledged to restart the furnace as part of an initial £20-million investment plan to expand the speciality operation and create an additional 300 jobs.