‘Lochaber once more’: £450 million deal for the Highlands


© thehighlandtimes.com

From the news.gov.scot site today, I proclaim (J) the above headline unbeatable though ‘Sunshine on Carn Liath’ will also make some sense to locals and climbers.

The Lochaber Delivery Group met for the first time today to begin the process of helping the GFG Alliance (Liberty House and SIMEC) make the most of their total £450 million investment in the area subsequent to buying the Fort William aluminium complex and estate lands from Rio Tinto in a £330 million deal in December.

You’ll remember that Liberty House have already worked with the Scottish Government to save the steel plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge. The plans are to revitalise (already underway) the smelter to manufacture car parts, to do the same for nearby hydro plants (£120 million), to maximise cost savings in that manufacture and, along with two bio-fuel plants, to create a state-of-the-art facility which will add 1 000 direct and 1 000 indirect jobs in the area and a predicted £1 billion addition to the local economy. Unemployment in the Fort William area is generally well under (2.9%) the overall Scottish rate (4.9%) but I’m sure it would be a very popular place to relocate to.

This will be the UK’s last aluminium smelter putting it in a very good place to compete to produce car parts for the wider UK and European car manufacturers. Of course India’s car ownership growth is the fastest in the world at 7.64% or 2.54 million vehicles in 2016 and is expected to grow by 775% to 2040! Who owns the Lochaber mill? It’s a Mr Gupta. Now where does that name originate?

GFG Alliance (Liberty/SIMEC) Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said:

‘One of the key reasons we invested in the Highlands was because people welcomed us here. That’s been reinforced by the positive response of the many agencies in the new Lochaber Delivery Group who are eager to play their part in delivering the goal of a clean, competitive and sustainable manufacturing sector in the Highlands.’





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