GFG Alliance today welcomed the UK Government’s announcement of a £250 million Clean Steel Fund and pledged to participate fully in a call for evidence on the fund’s design.
Commenting on the announcement, Cornelius Louwrens, CEO of Liberty Steel UK, said: “There’s a real opportunity for Britain’s steel industry to compete and prosper globally. But to do so, the industry needs to transform itself to a less carbon intensive, and a more sustainable model.
“The only way to do that is by switching from primary production in traditional blast furnaces to energy-efficient Electric Arc Furnaces, which offer a viable future by enabling Britain to recycle its own scrap steel rather than shipping it to other countries. Britain imports most of its steel and even the steel made in UK is mostly from imported and carbon intensive coal and iron ore.
“By assisting investment in Electric Arc Furnaces, this fund can also drive up the proportion of power drawn from renewable sources. Liberty Steel is demonstrating that this approach works at Rotherham, where we last year restarted an electric arc furnace mothballed by previous owners. We are also operating well established electrically powered furnaces in Australia and the United States.
“GFG is building a clean energy business through SIMEC Energy to power steel. Overall, this approach provides a path towards achieving the UK’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“At present, 80% of the 21 million tonnes of steel and steel products Britain consumes every year is manufactured overseas. That needs to change. As a nation, we should be producing sufficient steel to satisfy our own strategically important industries – such as construction, car manufacturing and aerospace.
“This fund is a welcome initiative from the Government which demonstrates confidence in UK steel. If used properly, this funding can motivate and partner private-sector capital in making the changes that UK steel badly needs, to create jobs and to build an industry fit for the future.”