Steel production to return to Redcar ‘within three years’ after SSI deal | Business News

By February 20, 2020 No Comments
The SSI steel plant at Redcar was mothballed in 2015

The people of Teesside are being promised that steel will be produced in Redcar again within three years, following a deal with the owners of the mothballed works.

Under the agreement between Thai firm SSI, its Thai banks and the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) crucial land will be returned to public hands allowing work to begin on regenerating the sprawling site.

An estimated 3,000 jobs were lost in the region when the coke ovens were turned off in 2015 amid a weak order book for SSI UK and a collapse in global steel prices.

The STDC – set up to breathe new life into the area following the plant’s demise – has been working to acquire the 840-acre site on the south bank of the Tees and the assets on that land.

The Redcar steelworks used a blast furnace to produce steel but the new plant will not

The negotiations followed a deal struck more than a year ago for the transfer of more than 1,400 additional acres from Tata Steel to STDC – led by the Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen.

Rather than a return to steel production via a blast furnace, an electric arc furnace is planned to be operational by 2023.

Under the process, existing steel is recycled for new uses.

Mr Houchen said on Thursday that the wider site now in STDC’s control had the potential to create 20,000 jobs once fully developed.

Tory Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen is seen campaigning in the market town of Guisborough with Boris Johnson in 2019

Tory Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen is seen campaigning in the market town of Guisborough with Boris Johnson in 2019

He told reporters: “I am delighted that today we have reached an agreement with SSI to take back control of the site of the former Redcar steelworks.

“Thanks to the agreement we have reached, we can move forward in breathing new life into an area that was devastated following the steelworks’ closure in 2015.

“With the potential to create more than 20,000 jobs over the next two decades, today really marks the beginning of a new era.”

The Redcar regeneration marks the second big money move by the mayor – a Conservative – who also brought the region’s airport back into public hands following a collapse in services.

A wider swing in favour of the Tories in December’s election saw a string of Labour strongholds in the North East turn blue.

They included Redcar. The seat is now occupied by a former factory worker, Jacob Young.

PM Boris Johnson has since pledged to “level up” government spending in regions outside the South East in a bid to maintain that surge in Tory support.

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