Steelmaking is set to return to Teesside after British Steel's confirmation that it plans to build a new furnace at Teesworks.
Lackenby, Redcar, has been chosen as one of the locations for its new generation of electric arc furnaces (EAFs), which use greener technology to melt scrap and produce new steel.
The multi-million pound investment will bring back basic steel production to Teesside and will link with British Steel’s Teesside Beam Mill, at Lackenby and its special profiles mill at Skinningrove which processes steel for industrial uses.
While jobs will be lost at British Steel when the blast furnaces close, hundreds of direct jobs will be created with thousands more in the supply chain and construction when work commences on the company's new EAF facilities.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen pledged to bring steelmaking back to Teesside ahead of his re-election in 2021.
Mayor Houchen commented: “I made a promise to the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that I would bring steelmaking back. Today I am delivering on that pledge.
“I made a promise to the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that I would bring steelmaking back. Today I am delivering on that pledge."Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen.
“As Teessiders, we know that steel is in our blood – and the closure of our steelworks was a historic injustice which needed to be addressed.
“But with the construction of a new electric arc furnace we will see Teesside restored to its rightful place as a global leader in the steel industry, delivering well-paid jobs and investment for now and future generations.
“This project would not have happened without our joint venture partners, who have been essential in delivering this once-in-a-generation investment.”
The furnace will generate heat from an electric arc between electrodes, in contrast to a blast furnace which uses coke to supply the large amount of energy needed.
A planning application will be submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Council in mid-November, with construction expected to begin in mid-2024. The plant is scheduled to commence operation in 2025.
The project will be supported by the development of a previously announced hotel and shopping complex, which will provide services for workers.
A 160-bed hotel, two parades of shops and a petrol station will form part of the services zone near the Trunk Road, at Lackenby, which will also feature a convenience store, a family pub/eatery, and two other freestanding restaurant units.
The announcement comes eight years after the closure of the Redcar Steelworks following the collapse of steelmaker SSI UK.
The former steelworks is now the site for the largest regeneration project in Europe across its 4,500 acres, and part of the Teesside Freeport.
British Steel from Lackenby has already been used in the construction of the £450 million SeAH Wind monopile factory, which is being built at South Bank on Teesworks.
Teesworks CEO Martin Corney said: “This announcement is excellent news for Teesworks and for the people of Teesside.
“It is the direct result of a huge amount of hard work – including demolition and land preparation – to deliver a site where investors can move quickly and huge projects can be brought forward, delivering jobs and investment.”
Cllr Alec Brown, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, commented: “British Steel’s decision to expand its operation in Redcar and Cleveland is fantastic news and will bring high quality jobs to a borough which has a long and distinguished history of steelmaking.
“British Steel’s decision to expand its operation in Redcar and Cleveland is fantastic news and will bring high quality jobs to a borough which has a long and distinguished history of steelmaking."Councillor Alec Brown, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
“We have been working behind the scenes with key personnel from British Steel and its parent company, Jingye Group, to provide an environment which encourages the kind of investment announced today.
“Generations of families in Redcar and Cleveland have prospered through employment in the steelmaking industry. The closure of the Redcar blast furnace was a huge blow to both our borough and the wider region, but British Steel has continued to invest in its operations and workforce at both Lackenby and Skinningrove.
“The expansion at Lackenby is a real demonstration of faith in Redcar and Cleveland and it its residents who provide the unique skills and commitment which will ensure the ongoing success of steelmaking in our borough.
“One of my key pledges when I stood for election earlier this year was to do everything to support good quality jobs coming to our borough. This is a clear demonstration of delivering on that pledge and I look forward to continuing to work with British Steel and the Jingye Group in the years to come.”