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Liberty reopens Dalzell steel plant in Scotland, targets 500,000-tonne output

The Dalzell steel works in Motherwell, Scotland, was reopened Sept. 28 to much fanfare and local media coverage by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, according to a statement from Liberty House Group, the metals trader that agreed to buy the plant from Tata Steel Ltd. in March.

The plant, Britain's largest steel plate producer, was shut down by Tata in December 2015 and was scheduled to be sold, along with Tata's other U.K. steel assets, before the Indian conglomerate reached a rescue deal with Liberty.

Tata, which bought Corus, including the former British Steel assets, in a 2007 deal for £4.3 billion, blamed cheap imports, high British taxes and energy costs as the reason for its decision to exit the U.K. earlier in the year.

The massive pension liabilities of the former British Steel assets were also blamed as a reason.

The revived plant will have an annual production capacity of between 400,000 tonnes and 500,000 tonnes of steel plate.

In its statement, Liberty said it has spent the past five months rebuilding the Dalzell plant's workforce and recommissioning equipment.

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of Liberty Group, said he plans to invest further in the facility and follow its "greensteel" strategy of producing "sustainable" and "low-carbon" steel.

The company will be targeting Britain's 700,000-tonne-per-year market for steel plate used in industries such as shipbuilding, construction, mining, oil production and heavy equipment manufacturing.

The British market for steel plate is growing by about 3% per year, according to the company.

Gupta also said the company plans to restore to production the Clydebridge steel works, which it acquired as part of the Dalzell deal, "in due course as market conditions allowed."