Feb 12 India's Tata Steel has
restarted a blast furnace, one of its two at its Port Talbot
site in Britain, after a six-month halt for an upgrade,
subsidiary Tata Steel UK said on Tuesday.
The blast furnace was decommissioned in July before being
rebuilt to incorporate new technology to improve energy,
environmental and performance efficiency, it said.
"We have been able to take advantage of a period of low
steel demand to carry out this major engineering project, and we
are still operating today in an intensely challenging commercial
environment," Karl Köhler, chief executive of Tata Steel UK,
said in a statement.
"Restarting the furnace will help us improve our delivery
performance ... but we will continue to manage our output at
levels appropriate to market conditions."
Steel consumption in Europe fell by 9.7 percent last year
and is expected to fall by 0.7 percent this year, before a 3.0
percent increase in 2014, European steel industry lobby Eurofer
In the past six months, when only one of the two blast
furnaces was operating at Port Talbot, a site in Wales, Tata
Steel UK had to bring in slab, a semi-finished steel product,
from other locations to feed its strip mills.
With the restart of the second blast furnace, the facility
is self sufficient, which will reduce costs a bit, a spokesman
for the company said.
Tata Steel UK, with its main steel-making operations in the
UK and the Netherlands, is the second-largest steel producer in