Work was continuing today on an 11th-hour bid to save the Corus steel plant on Teesside which will be mothballed this week with the loss of 1,600 jobs.
A “credible” consortium is interested in buying the Corus Teesside Cast Products site in Redcar, and has approached Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon and chairman of Middlesbrough Football Club Steve Gibson.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is expected to visit the plant ahead of a Cabinet meeting in Durham.
Mr Mallon said: “I do not want to raise false hope and there is a long way to go before any deal would be complete, but this is a deal worth investigating.
“I do not want to raise false hope and there is a long way to go before any deal would be complete.”
“Both myself and Steve Gibson will continue to do all we can to save steel jobs in the area until we are satisfied that no more can be done.”
Mr Mallon urged the plant’s Indian parent company Tata to let the consortium see its accounts.
He added: “It is too early to say whether we can save the steelworks but what I will say is that I believe the consortium is credible.
“For things to proceed further it requires Tata to be prepared to sell the steelworks and for them to open their books and allow due diligence to take place.”
Corus announced it will mothball the plant at the end of the week.
It blamed an international consortium which pulled out of a 10 year contract to buy most of its output.