Gupta Family Group Alliance companies, Liberty House and SIMEC, have unveiled major plans to turn their adjacent Newport sites into a two million tonne a year steel super-plant, powered by renewable energy.
It would be the first GREENSTEEL facility in the UK and would play a major part in a renaissance of the struggling sector by meeting up to 20% of current steel needs.
Newport’s key role at the forefront of a green revolution in UK steel was outlined to the city’s elected representatives during a fact-finding visit to Liberty’s 1.2m tonne a year rolling mill and SIMEC’s adjacent 396 megawatt Uskmouth Power Station.
Both Newport MPs, Jessica Morden and Paul Flynn, and Assembly Members, John Griffiths and newly-elected Jayne Bryant, were briefed on how the plants will help realise the vision for a sustainable steel sector, powered by renewable energy.
They met top management of SIMEC and who explained how the UK’s changing energy policies will help achieve the dual objective of reducing carbon emissions while making the UK steel sector competitive again.
Liberty executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta explained how the firm intends to install 2m tonnes of liquid steel-making capacity at Newport and almost double the existing rolling capacity at the site.
At the same time, as part of its GREENSTEEL strategy, SIMEC aims to power the steel plant by converting its existing coal-fired power-station to eco-friendly biomass generation. Longer term it will develop a centre of excellence for renewable energy that includes various forms of green power, including waste-to-energy and tidal lagoon power in the adjacent estuary.
All of this can provide low-cost, low-carbon fuel sources to power a steel industry which in turn can be made more competitive and sustainable through recycling and upcycling of Britain’s growing mountain of scrap.
A recent University of Cambridge report predicted that the UK’s supply of scrap will rise from 10m to 20m tonnes a year within a decade. At present 70% of Britain’s scrap steel is melted abroad, because of high power prices, but melting at home instead would generate thousands of new jobs.
Following significant investments SIMEC reopened Uskmouth Power Station and Liberty restarted the adjacent steel rolling mill in 2015, both of which had been mothballed by previous owners.
At present the two sites employ over 200 people with plans for many hundreds more when SIMEC rolls out its energy park plan and Liberty recommences the melting of scrap steel at Newport. The Newport sites are part of the Liberty’s nationwide network employing a total of over 1,500 people, which also includes steel making and engineering facilities in Tredegar, the West Midlands and Scotland.
Mr Gupta who co-hosted the visit with SIMEC’s Head of Energy, Industrials and Mining, Jay Hambro, said: “This was a very valuable opportunity to brief Newport’s elected representatives about our GREENSTEEL vision, which we believe will generate many new skilled jobs in the city and ultimately make a major difference to the whole UK steel and wider manufacturing sectors.
“Historically Newport has been one of the country’s most important steel-making locations so it’s very appropriate that this is the springboard for our GREENSTEEL plans. If we can make steel competitively in the UK, we can generate potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector nationwide,” he added.
He explained that he and his colleagues wanted to create a major fully-integrated ‘end-to-end’ business which encompassed everything from green power, through liquid steel production, to steel processing and the manufacture and distribution of high-value steel products.
Mr Gupta added that Government support in removing carbon tax on power stations feeding steel plants, their backing for conversion of coal-fired stations to biomass and the green light for tidal lagoon power would give the steel industry and manufacturing a huge boost and a bright future.
Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East which includes both Llanwern Steelworks and the SIMEC and Liberty plants said: “It was fantastic to visit SIMEC and Liberty Steel today to learn first-hand from Sanjeev about the GREENSTEEL programme which has huge potential for Newport, linking the steel plant with a biomass power station and tidal lagoon. This is very exciting for our area and for the steel industry.”
Further information from Eoghan Mortell 07977 55511
From left to right: Sanjeev Gupta (Liberty House Group), John Griffiths AM, Jay Hambro (SIMEC), James Busche (SIMEC), Paul Flynn MP, Jessica Morden MP, Nirmal Chhabria (SIMEC) and Jayne Bryant AM