Corus to mothball TCP facilities

An international consortium’s breaking of a binding contract means that Corus will be mothballing some of its facilities at its Teesside Cast Products (TCP) business in north-east England.

TCP’s Redcar Blast Furnace, Lackenby steelmaking and the South Bank Coke Ovens will be mothballed at the end of January 2010. However, Corus intends to keep open a number of operations, including the Redcar Wharf, Redcar Coke Ovens and some of the power generating capacity.

The partial mothballing will result in the loss of about 1,700 jobs.

Corus will continue to have a substantial presence in the Teesside area, employing more than 2,000 people at operations in Hartlepool, Skinningrove, the Teesside Beam Mill and the Teesside Technology Centre.

The decision to partially mothball TCP follows strenuous efforts by Corus over the past eight months to secure a long-term future for the plant after the failure of four international slab buyers to fulfil their obligations under a 10-year contract that they signed with Corus in 2004. This contract committed the consortium to buying about 80 per cent of the plant’s production for 10 years.

Chief executive Kirby Adams said: ‘We are acutely aware that this will be devastating news for our employees, our contractors, their families and the local community. We extend our sincere gratitude to all of them, as well as to the management team and the trade unions on Teesside, who have all worked night and day to try and avoid this outcome.’

Alan Clarke, chief executive of One North East and chairman of the Corus Response Group, said: ‘A public-sector partnership of One North East, Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough Councils, JobCentre Plus, Tees Valley Unlimited, Tees Valley Regeneration, Learning and Skills Council, Business Link, the North East Chamber of Commerce, EEF, CBI, Government Office North East and Vera Baird MP has worked closely with Corus and the unions since February 2009. An emergency meeting of this group is being arranged for early next week.

‘The Response Group has developed a comprehensive package of support, which has been honed over the past 10 months. This will include employment experts on site in January to put in place support for affected workers, such as individual sessions with workers to update CVs, highlight job opportunities and look at retraining options. We will also be working closely with the TCP supply chain to offer similar support.’