Tata Steel makes new kind of anti-ballistic steel
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, visited the plant and unveiled a plaque to mark a multi-million pounds project to rebuild a furnace where the new kind of steel is being produced by the Ministry of Defence and the Tatas.
Dozens of British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan by improvised explosive devices buried under roads by Taliban insurgents.
"It will give our troops a level of protection they have not had before and which nobody in the world offers. It is unique to the UK," a Tata spokesman said. Tata Steel announced last month that it planned to restart the furnace in the first quarter of 2013.
According to Tata, the operation has been the largest industrial construction project of 2012 in the UK.
The furnace will be restarted over the Christmas period, before running up to full operation in early 2013. At full capacity it will provide an extra half-million tonnes of liquid iron at the site.
The prince arrived at the steelworks on board the royal train. "It is always an enormous pleasure for me to come back here and visit this incredible place," the prince told a group of senior Tata Steel workers.
"I know just what an extraordinary effort was required to put this project together. Having heard a little about it, I understand that it will become one of the most sophisticated blast furnaces in Europe".
The prince, on his arrival, was ushered into a specially erected marquee and was shown a video about the lightweight super-strength steel which could transform safety for British soldiers.
After visiting the steelworks, the prince travelled to Swansea, to visit the city's indoor market and the birthplace of Dylan Thomas at Cwmdonkin Drive.