31 May, a historic moment unfolded as the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) Plant in Scunthorpe celebrates an astounding 50 years of steelmaking prowess. Surpassing a staggering production milestone of 168,777,000 tonnes, the BOS Plant has become a symbol of dedication, resilience, and triumph for the ironmaking and steelmaking professionals who have contributed to its success. Nestled in the picturesque Scunthorpe landscape, this iconic structure continues to be a vital cog in the wheel of our site operations, holding a special place in the hearts of countless workers.
The BOS Plant emerged as a key component of the ambitious 'Anchor Project' undertaken by the British Steel Corporation, representing a record-breaking investment of £235 million, which in today's currency equates to nearly £2.1 billion. Back in 1973, this formidable steelmaking facility stood as one of the largest in Europe, boasting three 300-tonne vessels capable of producing an annual output of 4.4 million tonnes of steel, with the potential to reach an impressive 5.25 million tonnes.
Jim Worsley, the Operations Director of Steelmaking, expressed his pride in being part of this momentous journey: "Steelmaking remains the very essence of our endeavors, and I am honored to be part of its rich history. Let us raise a toast to the future of steelmaking in Scunthorpe, as we face one of our greatest challenges yet: creating a sustainable, low-carbon steel industry that can fulfill Britain's need for high-quality steel for generations to come."
The 'Anchor Project' encompassed not only the BOS Plant but also the construction of the Continuous Casting (Concast) Plant, the sprawling Bloom and Billet Mill (BBM), and the Medium Section Mill (MSM). Additionally, provisions were made for ore reception and blending facilities at the Ore Preparation Plant, while an iron ore terminal was established at Immingham to facilitate material transfer to the integrated site in Scunthorpe.
Commencing in February 1970, the project gradually unfolded over the following years. The first steel rolled off the BBM on 12 January 1973, followed closely by the MSM's inaugural sections on 15 January 1973. Finally, the Concast Plant, the project's crowning achievement, saw the commissioning of its first machine on 12 December 1973, with the second machine joining its ranks on 31 March 1974. The new facilities were inaugurated on 8 May 1974 by HM Queen Elizabeth II, with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in attendance.