Steel giant Corus has announced it will close its Redcar plant on Teesside next month, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
The future of the plant had been hanging in the balance earlier this year after a 10-year contract – which had been signed in 2004 – to supply slab steel to a consortium of four buyers was ended.
Corus, which is a major employer in the region, said it had made “strenuous efforts” over the past eight months to secure the future of the Teesside Cast Products factory.
But, in a statement, the company said: “Since the consortium broke this legally-binding agreement, from which it made an estimated 800 million US dollar profit, Corus has been diverting internal orders to Teesside Cast Products.
“The company has also been securing external orders on an ad hoc basis in a bid to keep the plant open while an alternative future for the plant was sought. This has cost the company about £130 million.
“Operating a three million tonnes per year merchant slab plant is not sustainable without a long-term strategic partner.”
Unions have described the news as devastating and called on the Government to step in and help save the jobs.
Corus said it will work with Government agencies to do everything it could to help the workers.