The reopening of the Dalzell steelworks at Motherwell moved a step closer this week as the newly-recruited workforce began cutting steel slabs.
The move is in preparation for the restarting of plate rolling operations at the plant later this month. It is the first production activity to take place at the landmark site since it shut down ten months ago amid the steel industry crisis.
Liberty House, which acquired the plant from Tata Steel in April this year, has now hired 110 people from the area and is getting close to the number needed to recommence operations. The recruits include many former employees.
So far, some 10,000 tonnes of slab have been delivered to Dalzell from the British Steel works at Scunthorpe, while employees continue their work to recommission the giant rolling mill.
Trial rolling is expected to begin in the next fortnight with a formal restart of production scheduled for 28 September.
Jon Bolton, chief executive of Liberty Steel UK Plates & UK Steel Development, said: "We're getting very close to the point where we can start making steel plate at Dalzell once again.
"With the start of slab-cutting this week and, with excellent progress being made on recommissioning of the rolling mill, we are right on target to keep our promise to have the works fully operational again in the autumn."