Corus starts work on a multi-million pound boost for its Port Talbot steelworks today.Hundreds of staff and contractors will be involved in the £3.5 million overhaul of the site's newest blast furnace.
It was opened in 2002 to replace the doomed furnace that suffered irreparable damage in an explosion the previous year, which killed three men and seriously injured a dozen others.
Corus strip products general works manager Jon Ferriman said: "Port Talbot's newest blast furnace is one of the top five blast furnaces of the 57 similar facilities in Europe.
"The furnace is already extremely efficient, but this work, carried out in an intense period during the week, will improve the potential output by more than 100,000 tonnes a year."
Corus said the project would involve around 250 workers, as well as a host of South Wales-based contractors. It involves improving the key conveyors, the raw material handling and feed facilities and the gas plant.
"All this includes the latest technology and is set to help the business deliver its goal of producing at a consistent rate of five million tonnes per year - a target the furnace started to meet earlier this year," said Mr Ferriman.
In stark contrast to the Trostre plant in Llanelli, where 94 jobs are set to go as production is slashed, workers at Port Talbot have been celebrating after sending production records tumbling.
In June, the No. 5 blast furnace sustained a production level of 48,000 tonnes per week of liquid iron.
Meanwhile, the hot rolling mill broke its weekly production record after 10 years when 71,854 tonnes of steel slab were rolled into hot rolled coil - 300 tonnes more than the record set in 1997.
The hot strip mill also broke its record for the number of coils produced, at 3,929 in a week.
These production records follow hot on the heels of a record period for health and safety at the steelworks.
No lost-time accidents to Corus employees were reported in the first quarter, when more than two million man-hours were worked.
"The investment is part of our annual plan of capital expenditure," added Mr Ferriman.
"This is the latest investment in our steel manufacturing facilities, which have seen more than £300 million spent on capital during the last five years - the new furnace in 2002 and an additional caster in 2004, as well as a complete refurbishment of the coke ovens and coal injection plant."