Jobs created as Liberty fires up giant caster in Rotherham

The switch on of a small bloom caster at Liberty Speciality Steels plant in Rotherham. Liberty House executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta. right, with Paul Dobson plant manager of Liberty Speciality Steels.
The switch on of a small bloom caster at Liberty Speciality Steels plant in Rotherham. Liberty House executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta. right, with Paul Dobson plant manager of Liberty Speciality Steels.

A major piece of equipment at a South Yorkshire steel plant which had been mothballed for two years has been reactivated, creating scores of jobs.

Liberty Special Steels said firing up the ‘small bloom’ caster at the Aldwarke works in Rotherham would lead to an increase in production of high grade steel bar for automotive and engineering components.

Re-commissioning this key piece of equipment, and an associated coiler at the neighbouring Thrybergh mill, has already created 64 jobs, with a further 150 to come over the next six months,

Executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta is also expected to announce the company plans to re-light Rotherham’s second electric arc furnace in the new year, restoring its position as one of the UK’s leading producers of recycled steel.

Mr Gupta visited the plant to congratulate engineers and operators whose work has brought the crucial caster back on stream.

He said: “Speciality Steels is an operation of the highest international calibre with highly-skilled people. We’re investing to ensure this business can capitalise on growing opportunities and reclaim its leading position in the market.”

Peter Hogg, chief operations officer for Liberty Speciality Steels, said: “We plan to increase our production of steel bar threefold within a year by bringing this equipment back into use.”

Liberty bought the 1,700-worker Speciality Steels business from Tata Steel UK in May this year and began a £20m investment programme to boost output by repairing and upgrading mothballed machinery, adding new equipment and creating 300 jobs.

The business, which supplies steel to the aerospace and oil and gas industries, includes sites at Stocksbridge and Brinsworth, Aldwarke and Thrybergh in Rotherham.

British car makers are looking to buy an increasing proportion of content from UK sources and this is expected to accelerate post-Brexit.

Rotherham receives 24,000 tonnes of scrap a year from a Liberty pressings plant in Coventry.