Steel Production a Step Closer to a Teesside Return

Steel production has made a step closer to a Teesside return after British Steel secured permission to build a new furnace. The company, owned by Chinese giant Jingye since 2020, announced its application to build an electric arc furnace has been approved by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council following a detailed consultation period, delivering a key milestone in its £1.25bn decarbonisation plan. Meanwhile, its application to build another electric arc furnace at its Scunthorpe site is set to be decided soon by North Lincolnshire Council.

The transition from blast furnace production into electric arc furnace tech, which was first revealed last autumn, represents the manufacturer’s biggest transformation in more than 100 years of steelmaking, reviving a traditional industry in the region while also introducing more modern technology. However, Business Live is reporting that the firm said the furnace plant plan is subject to “appropriate support” from the UK Government.

British Steel President and CEO Xijun Cao said: “We’re delighted to have received planning permission to build an Electric Arc Furnace at our Teesside site, and thank everyone who has supported our proposals to bring steelmaking back to the region.The proposed installation of EAFs in Scunthorpe and Teesside is central to our journey to a green future as they would help us reduce emissions of CO2 by more than 75%. However, it is crucial we now secure the backing of the UK Government.

“Our owner, Jingye, is committed to the unprecedented investment decarbonisation requires and our desire to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, coupled with challenging market conditions, means it is imperative swift and decisive action is taken to ensure a sustainable future for British Steel.

“We started talks with the UK Government in 2022 about the timely support we require on our journey to net zero, including the need for the British government to adopt the correct policies and frameworks now to back our drive to become a clean, green, and successful company. We are committed to working with the UK Government and need to reach an agreement quickly so we can achieve our ambitious goals, secure thousands of jobs and keep making the steel Britain needs for generations to come.”

Significant preparation works, including environmental and technical studies, and equipment selection, are now under way to ensure the company’s ambitious proposals can be delivered at the earliest opportunity while discussions with the UK Government continue Both proposed furnaces would replace the aging iron and steelmaking operations at British Steel’s Scunthorpe site, which are responsible for the vast majority of its CO2 emissions. The company proposes maintaining current operations until a transition to electric arc steelmaking.

British Steel said it has started preliminary talks with trade unions about electrification, and has promised to support employees affected by its decarbonisation plans.

Mr Cao added: “We are confident our proposals will help secure the low-embedded carbon steelmaking the UK requires now and for decades to come.”

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