Following the Scottish Government’s partnership working with Liberty Steel, Dalzell Steelworks in Motherwell was saved from closure a couple of years ago. It is now the only UK-owned large producer of plate steel, used for constructing key infrastructure, such as large physical structures, ship hulls, undersea oil pipes, bulldozers and wind turbines.
Liberty Steel is part of Sanjeev Gupta’s London-headquartered worldwide GFG Alliance which re-opened the plant after it had been closed down by previous owners. With Dalzell fully operational once more, Liberty is now challenging the foreign plate producers in China and South Korea who currently have nearly 70% of the UK market.
Gordon MacRae, managing director of Liberty Steel Dalzell said:
“With the skill and determination of the workforce at Dalzell, we’re making real inroads into this market. We’re already reclaiming lost market share and we have big ambitions for future growth, not only at home but in key export markets also.
“Making a comeback after closure was always going to be a big challenge but we are now seeing real progress. We’re expanding our product range and customer base and firmly believe that Scotland is now leading the fightback for a share of the UK market for this toughest of steels.”
Dalzell has just secured two substantial new contracts and is on target to produce more than 120,000 tonnes of plate this year, rising by at least another 25% in 2019, as the plant’s expansion plan moves forward. Other Liberty plants in Scotland and England will use steel from Dalzell to make products such as wind turbines and oil pipelines. At present 120 people are employed at the plant. This is expected to rise to 200 people next year.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Derek MacKay added:
“The SNP Government is committed to ensuring our steel sector has a sustainable future, building on the long and proud heritage of steelwork in Scotland.
“We are committed to doing as much as we can to increase the industry’s ability to compete in global markets, which will help bring new opportunities to Scotland’s economy.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Having worked at Dalzell myself in the 1980s, I am delighted to see the plant making plate once more, thanks to the ‘never say die’ attitude and determination of the workforce, Sanjeev Gupta, his team and the SNP Government led by then Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP.
“Ambitious for the future, as well as recapturing a large share of the UK plate market, Liberty Steel Dalzell also aims to export to markets across Europe and I wish them every success in achieving their aims.”