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First Minister marks multi-million pound investment in Tata Port Talbot

First Minister Carwyn Jones has formally marked the start of works for the multi-million pound re-building of Blast Furnace number 4 at Tata Steel in Port Talbot.
Thursday 26 July 2012
First Minister marks multi-million pound investment in Tata Port Talbot

The work is part of a £240 million investment in the steel works. £185 million is being used to rebuild the Blast Furnace and £55 million to install a gas cooling system.

On a visit to the site the First Minister was joined by the Business Minister Edwina Hart and the CEO of Tata Steel Europe Karl Ulrich Kohler to see the massive engineering project that is underway to rebuild the blast furnace.

Part of the operation includes huge cranes that are moving modules that will form part of the furnace, the largest of which will weigh over 500 tonnes.

The rebuilt furnace will increase potential steelmaking capacity by up to 500 thousand tonnes and contribute to Tata’s commitment to achieve an annual capacity at Port Talbot of 5 million tonnes of liquid steel. The rebuild will also incorporate technology to improve environmental performance.

Tata Steel directly employs more than 7,000 people in Wales, with 3,500 of these based in Port Talbot.

Welsh steel produced at the site can be found in a range of high profile products including vehicles made by Jaguar-Land Rover, Nissan, BMW Mini and Honda

Following a trade mission to India in April, the First Minister revealed that Tata planned to invest £800 million in Wales over the next five years. 

Speaking during his visit to the site, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones said:

"Wales is a steelmaking country – steel has played a major role in our history and the investment we are seeing today shows it will continue to be central to our economic future.

"Tata has been open about the challenges it faces due to the global market for steel. Despite these difficulties it remains committed to Wales and the investment of £185 million into this new blast furnace is evidence of their long-term commitment to Port Talbot and Wales.

"My message today is that no matter how long it takes before we see an upturn in the global economy, the Welsh Government will continue to work closely with Tata every step of the way to make sure steelmaking Wales has the strongest possible future and continues to support our economy and jobs."

The Welsh Government has provided a range of support to Tata in Wales, including funding to train and develop staff based in Port Talbot.

An issue of concern repeatedly raised by Tata has been the impact on energy prices on energy intensive industries such as steel. Addressing this issue, the First Minister added:

"I have recently written again to the Business Secretary Vince Cable, to highlight the continued concerns raised by internationally owned high volume industrial manufacturers about the effect of high UK energy prices. Urgent support measures must be considered to support our industries through the sustained period of economic uncertainty in Europe."



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First Minister 26 July 2012 Economy Energy Programme for Government - Growth South West Wales

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