Steel giant Corus has unveiled a £6M exploration project to investigate the possibility of using local coal reserves to fuel its Port Talbot plant in South Wales.
Corus’ parent company Tata Steel announced the ambitious plans at the opening of a new £60M green energy plant at Port Talbot which utilises waste gas to power the site.
While slashing the Port Talbot site’s annual energy bill by an estimated £30M it is also cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 240,000t a year.
If the exploration project is successful, it would see the steel giant cut its reliance on imported coal to feed the South Wales site.
The steel maker’s commitment to reviewing its energy infrastructure has been fuelled by a torrid past few years during which it has seen capacity at the Port Talbot site halved as the economic downturn tightened its grip on UK industry.
During the worst of the recession, the company was losing £100M a month, resulting in widespread job losses at sites across the UK.
But the steel maker has witnessed a reversal of fortune since the UK’s narrow emergence from recession at the start of the year.
Kirby Adams, head of Tata Steel Europe, confirmed that the Port Talbot plant was back to full capacity after suffering badly during the downturn.
The drop in the value of sterling coupled with renewed demand from international markets as the global economy stabilises has contributed to Corus’ return to form.