Tata Steel restarts BF at Port Talbot plant in Wales

Tata Steel Europe has restarted its blast furnace (BF) No 5 at the Port Talbot mill in the UK following the facility’s upgrade that began in September last year, the company said on January 29.

BF No 5 is one of two operational blast furnaces at the 3 million tonnes-per-year capacity Port Talbot site.

“The life extension project of BF No 5 cost tens of millions of pounds and is a critical part of Tata Steel’s long-term strategy to strengthen its operations in the UK, underpinning improvements throughout its UK supply chain,” the company said.

The investment was confirmed when Tata Steel signed an agreement to create a 50:50 European flat steel joint venture (JV) with German steel conglomerate ThyssenKrupp in July 2018.

Competition regulators in the European Union opened an in-depth investigation into the 50:50 European flat-steel JV between ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel Europe on October 30 last year and have until March 19, 2019, to make a decision in the case.

Both Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp businesses focus on the flat steel market in Northern Europe.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for domestic hot-rolled coil (HRC) in Northern Europe was €510-530 ($585-605) per tonne ex-works on January 23, compared with €520-530 per tonne ex-works a week earlier.

Prices have softened of late due to slow trading, but prices could find support after a decision has been made in the safeguard case.