Miliband’s Plan To Destroy The Steel Industry

By Paul Homewood

The idiot Miliband wants to throw more of your money down the drain.


Ed Miliband has unveiled Labour’s decade-long, £3bn to transform Britain’s steel industry.

The shadow business secretary said a future Labour government would revive British manufacturing by supporting it to decarbonise.

He pointed to similar plans unveiled by US president Joe Biden which are designed to future-proof heavy industry while meeting climate targets.

The former Labour leader made the comments at the party’s Brighton conference where shadow ministers are setting out a policy programme to take on Boris Johnson.

£3 billion? Mere bagatelle! Why stop there? What about £30 billion? Or £300 billion?

Miliband offers no details of how this will be spent, or how much steel companies will have to pay towards his green agenda.

But from my experience £3 billion won’t go very far, not when we have three major steelmakers to divide it between.

But let’s examine the options.


1) Electric Arc Furnaces

Most of our steel is produced via blast furnaces and BOS vessels. The former, of course, use coke to reduce the iron ore.

Many have suggested we use electric arc furnaces (EAF), which are currently used for small quantities of high quality steels, owing to the ability to control steel specifications.

However they have one major drawback – they use steel scrap, which has a finite supply.

There is of course a very good reason why steelmakers around the world have opted for the blast furnace route, and that is because it is by far the most efficient process.

Even if Miliband financed the switch to EAFs, steelmakers would see their production costs rise significantly.

On top of that, EAFs use electricity to melt the scrap. The Net Zero agenda will inevitably lead to much higher electricity prices, pushing up costs still further.


2) Direct Reduction

Instead of using a blast furnace, you can use this process to heat iron ore to around 1000C, thus reducing the ore to iron.

One slight problem though – the most common method is to use natural gas for the heat. Obviously in Miliband’s wonderful green future, natural gas will be a no-no!

That would inevitably mean hydrogen or syngas. But we know that green hydrogen is horribly expensive, so once again our steelmakers will simply not have an economically viable product to sell.



3) Integrated Steelworks

One major advantage of blast furnaces is that the coke ovens attached produce coal gas as a by-product. This gas is then recycled for use elsewhere in the steelworks, such as rolling mills.

To replace this essentially free energy with hydrogen or electricity would also add considerably to steelmakers’ operating costs.

When Miliband’s done, it’s unlikely we will have a steel industry left at all!

Miliband the Hypocrite

I cannot leave without touching on Miliband’s utter hypocrisy.

He rants about the Tories being responsible for the decline of the steel industry. But what about his own responsibility in bringing us the Climate Change Act, and its consequent effect on electricity prices, probably the biggest factor in the decline of steel.

In reality, the British steel industry was on its knees in the 1970s, overmanned, inefficient and lossmaking. By 1990, Margaret Thatcher had turned British Steel into arguably the most efficient steel company in the world, and making a decent profit to boot.

It was during Labour’s years in power when the rot set in.


September 26, 2021 at 03:48PM

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