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  • 03/04/2018
  • Media Releases

First steelworkers’ clock on at Georgetown as Liberty prepares for restart of South Carolina mill

Twenty workers clocked on for duty at Georgetown steel mill in South Carolina today (3rd April) for the first time in over two years as preparations were stepped up to bring the shuttered plant back to life.

On April 16, a further 20 colleagues will join them in carrying out repairs and maintenance on the Liberty Steel Georgetown plant, which is scheduled to re-open soon, following its acquisition by British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance in December.

These first groups of workers are all former plant employees returning under a recall agreement with the United Steelworkers which enables them to reclaim their previous employment. Following the shutdown in 2015, many had taken jobs outside the steel industry but have now grasped the opportunity to come back to the sector, where some had worked for decades.

Meanwhile more than 300 people have applied for the initial 125 jobs that will be available at the Georgetown plant, a figure that is expected to rise to 250 as production is ramped up at the mill, which will make various grades of wire rod for the construction and automotive sectors.

Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance said: “This is a landmark day for the mill and for the city of Georgetown. There is still a lot of work to do but it is very encouraging and satisfying to see skilled and experienced steelworkers walking back through the gates to take up their jobs again.

“The GFG Alliance has big ambitions to invest and help to revive the US steel industry, and today is a hugely significant milestone in the process. We’re now eager to press ahead with all the preparatory activity and get production going again at this iconic site.”

Melt shop maintenance worker Jacob Ward, from Andrews, South Carolina, who returned to the plant today said: “Once Georgetown shut down, the chance of it reopening didn’t look good, until Liberty Steel came into the picture. We all prayed that they would reopen Georgetown and thankfully they have. It is a huge gain for the city and a blessing for former and new employees’ families.”

Following maintenance, repairs and upgrade of equipment, the company aims to restart production in the second quarter of the year and intends to operate its electric arc furnace at full capacity as soon as feasible.

Over the remainder of 2018, Liberty Steel Georgetown (LSG) will focus on ensuring wire rod coils from its rolling mill are meeting customer specifications and, thereafter, the plant will expand production to meet customer demand.

In particular, during the re-start phase, Liberty will be holding discussions with potential customers on their future requirements and will be concentrating on re-gaining certifications and approvals the plant previously held with high-end customers.