According to industry sources, Tata Steel are set to invest a substantial £75m in Port Talbot steelworks, financing the repair of blast furnace five.
As the largest steelworks in Britain, the investment with ease concerns over the commitment to the European steel sector. Extending its life by seven years, the news has been welcomed by many.
Blast furnace five was expected to become obsolete at the end of 2018, with many calls having been made for it to be fully relined as a sign of long-term commitment to the plant.
The investment follows a deal made in 2017, one that saw India’s Tata Steel sign a parliamentary agreement to merge its European steel assets with Germany’s Thyssenkrupp. The intention of the agreement was to address steelmaking overcapacity across Europe.
However, with the Port Talbot base making much less money than other plants, the impacts of Brexit saw in vulnerable state.
Union Community, a body that represents the workers of Port Talbot, said that they will continue to place the full reline of blast furnace five as a priority.
A Tata Steel spokesman said:
“We are looking at a range of options as we continue to develop a sustainable UK business for the future.
“There is, however, no definitive decision made yet on any form of blast furnace repair or reline.”
In addition to bringing the Port Talbot facility back to life, Tata will also be investing around £100m per year on UK assets; a deal that the business has now signed off with unions.