Tata Steel has restarted Blast Furnace 4 at its Port Talbot works following the largest industrial engineering project in the UK last year.
The £185m project to install a new furnace, will improve the site’s operational flexibility, the India-based firm said, and enable it to better serve its customers.
Karl Köhler, CEO of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “This rebuild has been a flagship investment, part of our strategy for long-term competitiveness in UK, EU and worldwide markets. The efficiency and sustainability of the new furnace will also make a major contribution to our efforts to create an ‘all-weather’ company in Europe.
“We have been able to take advantage of a period of low steel demand to carry out this major engineering project and we are still operating today in an intensely challenging commercial environment. Restarting the furnace will help us improve our delivery performance which will enable us to better serve our customers, but we will continue to manage our output at levels appropriate to market conditions.”
The rebuild was part of a £250m investment programme which will also lead to the restarting of the hot strip mill at the company’s Llanwern site in Newport.
In November the firm announced 500 job cuts at the South Wales plant following reorganisation of management and administrative functions.
Merchants in the region have previously told MRW they do not believe the investment and efficiency programme will have any effect on the scrap trade.