Tata Steel Europe, one of the biggest employers in Wales, has re-started production at its Port Talbot steel plant after spending £185 million in rebuilding a blast furnace, the most significant investment in the UK's largest steelworks.
Last year, Tata Steel, the world's seventh-largest steel maker, said it would spend £800 million ($1.3 billion) at its Welsh facilities over the next five years, including £185 million on rebuilding a blast furnace at Port Talbot, and an additional £53 million on upgrading the steel-making shop. (See: Tata Steel to invest £800 mn over 5 years at Welsh facilities)
According to the company, the rebuilding of the blast furnace at Port Talbot was the UK's largest industrial engineering project of 2012.
Karl Kvhler, chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, said, "This rebuild has been a flagship investment, part of our strategy for long-term competitiveness in UK, EU and worldwide markets.''
"The efficiency and sustainability of the new furnace will also make a major contribution to our efforts to create an 'all-weather' company in Europe,'' he added.
Kvhler said that the company was able to take advantage of a period of low steel demand in Europe to carry out this major engineering project, but added that it is still operating in an ''intensely challenging commercial environment.''