THE PRINCE of Wales gave Rotherham steel his royal assent last Friday, re-igniting a recycling furnace and meeting trainee steelworkers.
Prince Charles switched on the scrap-melter at Liberty Speciality Steel’s Dalton plant, mothballed in 2015 during the steel crisis.
Joining him in the control room was Sanjeev Gupta, chairman of plant-owners Liberty House Group.
The furnace will recycle 800,000 tonnes of scrap steel every year.
Mr Gupta called the event “a pivotal moment in the revival of UK steel-making” and a “hugely symbolic milestone”.
The furnace will melt steel scrap, turning it into engineering steel for use at factories making vehicle and aerospace parts.
Its switch-on took five months of work by 35 engineers, repairing and upgrading the equipment.
Mr Gupta hopes Liberty’s Greensteel project will kickstart a cleaner and more competitive steel industry in Britain.
He said: “We have a billion tonnes of steel in the UK — the ability to recycle that constantly is a different way of making steel."
The Prince unveiled a plaque marking the event and spoke with Industrial Cadets at the firm’s nearby Aldwark General Office — recently refurbished as the national headquarters of Liberty Steel UK.
He said: “It’s so remarkable what Mr Gupta has achieved here in ensuring a future for this steel mill and indeed for this area.
“I know just how many people depended on it and do depend on it — also how many skills there are potentially and the ones that exist in this area."
He added: “Nothing could give me greater pleasure on this occasion as to unveil this plaque and to wonder, perhaps, where it might end up.”
The Prince also visited Dearne Fire Station to find out more about the work being done by the Prince's Trust.