Corus is to invest £8 million at a Scottish steel plant to help meet demand for heavy plate products.
The investment at the company’s Dalzell steel mill, in Motherwell, includes installing a new 3,500-tonne press and handling equipment, as well as an upgrade to the plant’s existing press and other manufacturing equipment.
Corus is also recruiting 60 workers – 11 in Dalzell and 49 at its nearby Clydebridge plant – following an upturn in orders. The new roles will be temporary, but may become permanent if market conditions continue to improve.
The £8m investment will more than double the plant’s capacity to produce heavy levelled plate which is used in many applications, including foundations for offshore wind turbines, power plant construction and heavy machinery, as well as in the oil and gas sector.
Colin Timmins, Plant Manager of the Dalzell and Clydebridge steelworks, said: “This is the largest investment in the Dalzell site for almost 40 years and will be welcomed by our workers, their families and the whole community.
“It will open up new opportunities for us and improve our capability in a number of markets which, combined with our skilled workforce, puts us in the best position for the future.
“The economic conditions affecting the steel industry last year were extremely tough and we had to make some difficult decisions to weather the storm.
“Steel demand is not back to what it was before the recession, but Corus has been working hard to target new markets and this investment in both people and equipment will help us to take advantage of the strengthening demand we are seeing in a number of sectors.”
The recruitment at Dalzell and Clydebridge, which is already underway, follows an upturn in orders for some of the plants’ specialist steel products, including in the oil and gas, power generation, mining, and construction sectors.
Corus expects to further strengthen its Dalzell workforce when the new 3,500-tonne flattening press is commissioned in summer 2011.
The recruitment follows the hiring of 12 engineering apprentices at the two plants over the last two years – the first apprentices in a generation.
Chris Elliot, Corus Director of Product Marketing, said the £8m investment would enable the company to improve its steel-making capability in a number of markets, including the fast-growing renewable energy sector.
“The UK Government has approved ambitious plans to build thousands of wind turbines at sea over the next 10 years. They will be able to generate 35 gigawatts of electricity – around 15% of the UK’s energy requirements. Similar developments are taking place in other European countries.
“These developments present us with a massive opportunity. In the UK alone, we estimate that about 6 million tonnes of steel will be needed over the next 10 years to make the foundations and tower structures for offshore wind turbines.”
Engineers from Corus Process Engineering, in Workington, Cumbria, will be manufacturing handling equipment for the Dalzell plant and will be managing the installation of the new flattening press.
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Application forms for the new roles can be obtained from the Dalzell and Clydebridge plant reception.
Corus is Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations primarily in the UK and the Netherlands, Corus supplies steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, mechanical engineering and other markets worldwide.
Corus is a subsidiary of Tata Steel, one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined enterprise has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.