A fresh chapter for steelmaking in Lanarkshire began today (Friday) as senior Liberty House representatives, arrived to begin work on the re-opening and recovery of the Dalzell and Clydebridge Works.
At a ceremony in Motherwell representatives of outgoing owners Tata Steel formally handed over the keys the two steel plants as Liberty hoisted their corporate flag to mark the start of a new era.
The agreement to save the two Lanarkshire plants was struck on March 24 and made possible by the Scottish Government which facilitated a ‘back-to-back’ deal between Liberty and Tata Steel.
Liberty has a growing track record for rescuing and rebuilding major steel enterprises by using renewable energy to melt the readily available supply of scrap in Britain rather than importing iron ore and coal from across the world.
Over the past six months the firm has saved more than 1,200 jobs at steel plants in Wales and the West Midlands, and now aims to create around 150 jobs in Lanarkshire over the coming months with p[roduction set to start in August.
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chair of Liberty House, said: “Like in Wales and the West Midlands, where our business model is already at work, steel is very much part of the fabric of Scottish industry and we are confident we have the calibre of people here who will keep it where it belongs, at the heart of the economy.
“This is our first step in Scotland, based on our experience so far we are confident we can build on this positive relationship, leading us to further opportunities and investments that will benefit the Scottish economy.”
Liberty has appointed Jon Bolton, who has 30 years experience in the industry, as chief executive of its new plate division.
He said: “Even though we have significant challenges ahead, this is an exciting opportunity to build a sustainable plate business in Scotland and in the UK using our new model and a fresh approach.”
Six months after Tata Steel announced they were mothballing the to Lanarkshire plants executive director of HR Tor Farquhar was pleased to ceremonially complete the deal with the new owners.
He said: “Today’s ceremony is the next step in a process which could see steel again being processed in Scotland and has been made possible by all parties coming together to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in seeking a potential solution for these sites.”