The first torpedo carrying iron arrives at the newly commissioned BOS Plant in Scunthorpe
31 May 2023

British Steel's BOS Plant celebrates its 50th birthday!

Today, Wednesday 31 May, marks a significant milestone for our Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) Plant, achieving an impressive 50 years of steelmaking. And, as of this morning, the BOS Plant has now tapped a massive 168,777,000 tonnes!

Jim Worsley, Operations Director, Steelmaking, said: “This is an amazing achievement and a testament to the hard work, determination and resilience of all our previous and current Ironmaking and Steelmaking colleagues. Today, the BOS Plant remains an iconic building in the Scunthorpe landscape and continues to play a vital role in our site operations. It’s been and continues to be an important part of the lives of many workers on our site.”


Some of today's steelmakers gather to mark the momentous occasion

The BOS Plant was just one part of what at the time was the largest ever investment the British Steel Corporation had made at the Scunthorpe site. The scheme was named the ‘Anchor Project’ and cost around £235 million, the equivalent of nearly £2.1 billion in today’s money.

Jim said: “In 1973, our steelmaking plant was one of the largest in Europe. It was commissioned with 3 x 300-tonne vessels and could manufacture 4.4 million tonnes of steel each year, with the potential to reach 5.25 million tonnes.

“Steelmaking remains at the heart of what we do and I’m proud to be part of its history. So, here’s to the future of steelmaking in Scunthorpe – it’s an exciting time as we face one of our biggest challenges yet – creating a sustainable, low-carbon steel industry that can make the high-quality steel Britain needs for generations to come.”

The Anchor Project also included building our Continuous Casting (Concast) Plant, the mile-long Bloom and Billet Mill (BBM) and the Medium Section Mill (MSM), as well as provision for ore reception and blending facilities at the Ore Preparation Plant. At the same time, an iron ore terminal was developed at Immingham to receive materials for transfer to the integrated site in Scunthorpe.

The project started in February 1970 and the new facilities were brought online over the following years. The first steel was rolled at the BBM on 12 January 1973 and the MSM rolled its first sections on 15 January 1973. Our Concast Plant was the last major section of the project to be completed with the first machine commissioned on 12 December 1973 followed by the second on 31 March 1974. On 8 May 1974, HM Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the new facilities with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Below are some of the images captured on 31 May 1973 to commemorate the newly commissioned BOS Plant


The first torpedo arrives at the BOS Plant


The first liquid iron pour


Then and now: scrap and liquid iron charged to the BOS vessel


The first sampling of steel


The first tap


Teeming ingots for the first time

And in preparation for the startup, the image below shows installation of bricks in the steelmaking vessel: