Britain’s largest metal corporations have halted imports of Russian coal because the West’s makes an attempt to sever ties with Vladimir Putin’s regime collect tempo.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Tata Metal UK and British Metal have each ended their reliance on the nation’s coal which is used to energy their blast furnaces.
Tata, a part of a large Indian conglomerate, runs Britain’s greatest steelworks at Port Talbot in South Wales.
British Metal, acquired from administration by China’s Jingye in 2020, makes metal for railway tracks from websites together with Scunthorpe and Teesside.
Severing ties: Tata Metal UK and British Metal have each ended their reliance on Russia’s coal which is used to energy their blast furnaces
Conservative MP Richard Holden mentioned: ‘I’m delighted to see any firm divest itself of Russian pursuits. We have to see that enterprise go as a substitute to the UK and its allies.’
The coal is used to warmth the furnaces to 1,800C and is a crucial a part of the steel-making processes.
Britain has imported 3million tons of coking coal, the principle sort utilized in steelmaking, from Russia over the previous 4 years. The nation is second solely to the US as a supply of provide.
Authorities information reveals the UK imported 867,000 tons in 2018; 699,000 tons in 2019; and 722,000 tons in 2020.
Figures for the primary 9 months of 2021 reveal 684,000 tons had already been purchased, placing the UK on target for an additional bumper yr.
The UK acquired about 35 per cent of its coking coal from Russia in 2020.
Final week, US president Joe Biden banned imports of Russian coal, oil, gasoline and all different vitality merchandise.
Britain stopped wanting emulating that ban. However Tata and British Metal voluntarily shunned provides following the Ukraine invasion.
Boris Johnson dedicated to phasing out imports of Russian oil by the tip of the yr to permit corporations to seek out different provides. The Authorities can also be ‘exploring choices’ to scale back pure gasoline provides from Russia.
The motion by the metal giants is prone to immediate calls for an entire ban on imports of Russian coal.
Trade sources mentioned European steelmakers have been prone to flip to Australia, Canada and others to make up the shortfall.
Levelling Up Minister Michael Gove was final week urged to fast-track approval of an software to construct a coal mine in North West England.
Copeland mayor Mike Starkie mentioned Gove ought to approve West Cumbria Mining’s software for a £165million mine for coking coal, used to make metal in Whitehaven.
Michael Gove, the levelling up minister, has been urged to fast-track an software to construct a brand new coal mine in Cumbria
The mission has been accepted 3 times by Cumbria County Council, however was referred to as in by the Authorities for a judicial evaluation final yr.
Enterprise Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng final week famous the evaluation in Parliament, saying: ‘We clearly wish to transfer away from Russian hydrocarbons.’
Western companies have moved to choke off the Russian financial system and defend their reputations by chopping ties to the nation.
A British Metal spokesman mentioned: ‘We’ve ceased any commerce relationships with suppliers and clients primarily based in Russia. We don’t anticipate provide disruptions and proceed to function in line with our manufacturing plans.
‘Our uncooked supplies procurement groups are assessing the altering international provide chains and commerce flows, and we now have contingency plans in place ought to this be required.’
A Tata UK spokesman mentioned: ‘We are going to make sure that clients is not going to be affected.’
Massive enterprise: Tata Metal runs Britain’s greatest steelworks at Port Talbot in South Wales
Sheffield Forgemasters, which was nationalised final yr, was exporting metal rolls to Russian vegetation however has stopped because the invasion of Ukraine.
Building contractors have bemoaned ‘crippling’ value hikes imposed by British Metal, blaming rising prices on the Ukraine battle. Power costs have shot up because the conflict in Ukraine triggered a squeeze on provide.
Johnson has mentioned the UK will try to supply extra vitality domestically, which is probably going to attract funding in the direction of British tasks together with wind farms, fracking and mining.
Figures from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics revealed that the UK imported £32million of coal, coke and briquettes from Russia in January; £590million of oil; and £289million of gasoline.
Power payments make up an enormous portion of steelmakers’ prices and British companies have repeatedly claimed they’re at a drawback to European rivals.
Holden mentioned: ‘The world has modified within the final fortnight. We have to look once more at home provide.’