Tata Steel plans £800m investment in Welsh plants

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Tata Steel plans to invest £800m in Wales over the next five years, according to claims made by the Welsh first minister.

Carwyn Jones said the vice-chairman of Tata Steel, B Muthuraman, confirmed the commitment to the Welsh steel industry during the Welsh government’s trade mission to India last week.

Tata Steel has outlined investment of £250m in Wales but said it would not confirm further projects until the details had been finalised.

A spokesman for the Welsh government told The Engineer the figure of £800m represented funds that had not previously been announced.

Jones, who met with the Tata boss in Mumbai on 13 April, said: ‘This substantial investment will be used to improve production, product mix, quality and product range at its plants in Wales.

‘Muthuraman paid tribute to the quality of the workforce available in Wales and recognised the importance of the continuing partnership with the Welsh government in creating confidence for long-term investment decisions. He noted too that Port Talbot is one of the best sites in Europe for steelmaking.’

A spokesman for Tata Steel said in a statement: ‘Tata Steel’s key near-term investment in Wales is the £185m to be spent on rebuilding the Number Four blast furnace at Port Talbot, work on which is scheduled to start in June.

‘This is in itself a substantial vote of confidence in Welsh steelmaking. A blast furnace is normally relined every 10–20 years and a complete rebuild, which is an even bigger project than a reline, is an investment with a similarly long-term horizon.

‘Other near-term investment projects take the investments committed at Port Talbot to almost £250m. At this stage, it is not possible for us to be more specific about any further investment projects before the details have been finalised and approved.’