Liberty House to restart large steel bar and rod rolling mill in Kent

Francesca Washtell
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The Sheerness plant will receive semi-finished steel products before making bar and rod products (Source: Getty)
ndustrials group Liberty House has ploughed more investment into the UK steel industry and is set to revive a large mill in Kent by mid-next year, the company said today.

Liberty will restart rod and bar rolling mills at the facility in Sheerness in Kent, which shut down more than four years ago.

The group acquired the site in January 2016 and has backtracked on its original plan to move all the equipment to another of its sites in order to get the rolling mills to restart more quickly.

Read more: British steel "on track" to shake off large losses and return to profit

The Sheerness mills will receive semi-finished steel products, eventually supplied by Liberty to produce up to 750,000 tonnes of construction material reinforcing bar and wire rod.

Liberty, which was one of the bidders for Tata Steel's assets before the sale was halted, will be recruiting an initial workforce of 60 people, rising to 100 as market conditions allow.

"We hope some of the former workers will consider coming back but either way we intend to invest in building skills for the future," said VB Garg, chief executive of Liberty Steel Newport.

Read more: UK steel industry under pressure as global trade war heats up

Garg said:

We are particularly excited about the prospect of restarting the Sheerness rolling mills which were closed by the previous owner four years ago. Although we originally thought we would move the mills elsewhere, we now believe it will be better to reopen the existing site as it will save time and cost and allow us to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the market.

A year ago this week Liberty restarted its first British mill in Newport, South Wales, and has a target to produce five million tonnes of liquid steel per year over the next five to seven years in arc furnaces spread across Wales, the Midlands, the North East and Scotland.

In the next few weeks the company will be deciding where to send a one million tonne a year electric arc furnace that previously operated at the Sheerness site.

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