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Kallanish Kallanish

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August, 7th 2020

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JUL 12

Albion Steel looks to build new UK steelmaking plant


A new UK company, Albion Steel Limited (ASL), says that it intends to build the first carbon steel plant in the country for forty years. The new facility will use newly-developed direct casting technology to supply flat products based on scrap-fed mini-mill production. The company tells Kallanish in an exclusive interview that it has already carried out a 2-year pre-feasibility study and is now seeking investment to develop the project to its next stage.

There are currently seven shareholders in the business, all highly experienced steel industry professionals, led by co-founders Rod Beddows and Tony Pedder. The company has been established, says director Mike Walsh, to construct and operate a new steel melting and finishing facility in the UK which will directly employ 200 people and create considerably more indirect jobs.

ASL is now seeking to raise £3.5 million ($5.4m) from investors to progress the project to the next stage, complete bankable feasibility work and to “… test investor appetite for the £330m needed to undertake the project”.

Manufacturing will be based on technology developed in the US by Castrip, a joint venture between US steelmaker Nucor, Australia’s Bluescope Steel and Japan’s IHI. Castrip technology employs direct near net-shape production of thin, flat-rolled products so creating major financial and operational benefits vs. conventional production routes, ASL explains. The company is negotiating an option on the Castrip technology it says.

ASL is also negotiating to acquire a “… very attractive” established brownfield site in Sheffield. If successful in taking the project to the next stage, the company plans to begin site preparation in 2016 and first production by June 2018. Full production is expected to be reached by late 2019.

Projected output from the plant is 450,000 tonnes/year of finished product, mainly HDG in construction and non-automotive qualities. “There is a large gap in the supply of flat steel products in the UK, particularly HDG for the construction and related markets”, the company says. This gap is currently being supplied by imports, it continues.

Based on new technology, the economic model is low cost and the proportion of the cost base which is fixed is relatively low. The main raw material for ASL will be ferrous scrap metal, which in UK is abundant and low cost.