Rod and bar mills in Sheerness, Kent, UK, previously owned by Thames Steel, are to be re-started by Liberty House in its bid to expand its integrated UK steel and engineering business.

The land on which the 750kt/yr mills are located is owned by Peel Ports. While the initial plan was to move all the equipment, including melt shop and rolling mills, to a Liberty-owned site, the steelmaker has since agreed to a new long-term lease with Peel Ports and aims to restart rod and bar production next year.

Liberty recently re-opened the Dalzell plate mill in Motherwell near Glasgow.

“We are particularly excited about the prospect of restarting the Sheerness rolling mills which were closed by the previous owner four years ago. Although we originally thought we would move the mills elsewhere, we now believe it will be better to reopen the existing site as it will save time and cost and allow us to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the market,” said VB Garg, chief executive officer of Liberty Steel .

The plan is to recruit an initial workforce of 60, rising to 100, for the Sheerness facility depending upon market conditions.

“We hope some of the former workers will consider coming back but either way we intend to invest in building skills for the future,” he said.