Liberty House keen to join hands with Tata Steel on Port Talbot plant

Suresh P Iyengar, Thomas Thomas Mumbai | Updated on July 20, 2020

Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, Liberty House

The project involves conversion of two coal-fired blast furnace into electric arc furnace melting scrap steel

Liberty House, promoted by Indian born British entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta, has evinced interest in collaborating with Tata Steel for its plant at Port Talbot.

Speaking to BusinessLine on Monday from Italy, Gupta said the GFG Group has long been an advocate for recycled Green steel in the UK and indeed this was the Group plan for Port Talbot plant while bidding for it in 2016. Tata Steel is now exploring the option of converting the blast furnace at the plant into electric arc furnace as part of its plans to drive efficiency.

"We are always open to any kind of association with Tatas. We have a long and mutually productive history with them, we consider them one of the best groups in the world," Gupta added.

"In 2016, we wanted to turn the polluting and inefficient Port Talbot blast furnaces using imported iron ore and coal to recycled Green steel using domestically available scrap powered by renewable energy. So today when I hear of talks of EAFs in Port Talbot it is a huge vindication of our model which everyone sneered at in the past," he said.

Tata Steel UK earlier said it is exploring plans to close two blast furnaces at its Port Talbot steelworks in Wales and replace them with electric arc furnaces. As per the proposal being considered, the UK government would invest alongside Tatas for conversion of the furnaces by 2025.

Gupta said the key ingredient to the Group's recycled Green steel project was high energy prices in UK.

In fact, Liberty House's sister company SIMEC Energy is embarking upon the globally first conversion of a coal fired power plant to use waste headed for landfills at Uskmouth in Newport, which is next door to Tata Steel plant.

This project, which use a patented technology, will slash energy bill substantially and enable “project Beacon” to finally become a reality, he added.

The Project Beacon consists of restoring a 2 million tonne steel plant with two electric arc furnaces with modern cutting edge technology.

Asked whether there will be a shortage of scrap if Tata Steel UK also adopts same model to produce greensteel like Liberty House, Gupta said there is enough room for everyone as UK exports 8 mt of scrap and imports 7 mt of steel.

Also, he added an efficient scrap supply chain is key for success of EAF operations and Liberty House has long history of excellence in global scrap business.

Published on July 20, 2020

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