Tata Steel, UK government discuss decarbonisation options

Tata Steel Europe confirms it is actively discussing with the UK government several options for the future of its UK operations, to address existing structural challenges. One of these is understood to be the possible replacement of the blast furnaces at Port Talbot with electric arc furnaces.

UK press has in recent weeks reported on speculation that Tata Steel would agree to convert its integrated production at Port Talbot to EAF-based output in order to reduce CO2 emissions. These rumours were understood to be only part of the many scenarios discussed between the company and local authorities.

The company did not give specifics, but confirmed the possibility of cooperation with or participations from the UK government in future developments, Kallanish notes.

“We are in active discussions with the UK Government on several options for the future of our UK operations, including potential co-operation and participation from the Government to create a sustainable decarbonised footprint for the future,” a Tata Steel spokesperson says. “Given prevailing market conditions and disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that our UK operations face structural challenges that need to be urgently addressed.”

“Discussions with the Government are constructive and ongoing, and at this stage no decisions have been made,” the spokesperson continues. “It would therefore be inappropriate to comment on unsubstantiated speculation about the outcome of these discussions or the potential impact of any changes to secure our sustainable long-term future.”

UK trade unions have expressed their concerns over the possibility of converting Port Talbot to an EAF-based works, as this could have a direct impact on employment. The option of EAF steelmaking has been raised many times during the last five years.

Last month Celsa agreed with UK authorities an important loan to support its activities in the country; a similar loan – albeit higher in value – is expected to be announced for Tata Steel.