United Kingdom-based Liberty House Group has reignited the furnace at its Speciality Steels operation in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, U.K. The official launch was in mid-February 2018, with the Prince of Wales igniting the furnace.
The restart of the electric arc furnace, which was mothballed by a previous owner earlier in the decade, is part of a multimillion-pound investment by the Liberty House Group into its Liberty Steel division.
The facility’s two 400,000-metric-tons-per-year furnaces will melt ferrous scrap into specialized steels for uses such as vehicle gearboxes and aircraft landing gear. Liberty indicates the furnace will play what it calls a pivotal role in Liberty’s overall Greensteel strategy, “designed to usher in a cleaner and more competitive era for the industry in the U.K.”
The steel mill has two furnaces. The first furnace, with an annual capacity of 400,000 metric tons, already has been restarted.
When Liberty purchased the steel mill in May 2017, it pledged to restart the furnace as part of an initial £20 million ($28 million) investment plan to expand the Speciality operation and create an additional 300 jobs.
The switch-on of the second furnace marks the culmination of five months engineering work by a team of 35 people to repair and upgrade the equipment. It will triple Liberty’s capacity to melt scrap into liquid steel at Rotherham, making the company the largest steel recycler in the U.K., with a capability to melt more than 1.2 million metric tons of steel per year.
It also moves the business closer to its target of installing 5 million metric tons of Greensteel production capacity within five years. In addition, restarting the second furnace will enable the Rotherham plant to double production on its adjacent bar mill to more than 400,000 metric tons per year.
Liberty Recycling, the company’s scrap recycling division, has operations in South Wales, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Scotland. Liberty Metals Recycling also has a scrap collection and trans-shipment operation in Gdansk, Poland.
“Switching this furnace back on today, after it had lain idle for more than two years, is a pivotal moment in the revival of U.K. steelmaking, and we are very pleased His Royal Highness is able to share this hugely symbolic milestone with us,” says Sanjeev Gupta, founder and executive chairman of Liberty House Group. “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.”