FIVE million tonnes of steel slabs have been made by a North-East works since it restarted production in April 2012. 

SSI UK in Redcar said the milestone was reached late on Saturday night at the plant which returned to operation following an almost two year hiatus.   

Earlier in the month, another major milestone was reached when the 50th shipment of steel bound for SSI's parent company in Thailand left Teesport.

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The total tonnage despatched to Thailand to date is more than 3.2 million tonnes. Total exports from SSI UK in 2012 were valued at $1.5bn and are expected to approach $2bn this year.

Cornelius Louwrens, SSI UK business director and chief operating officer said: 

“These are important milestones for the plant and again highlight the commitment and determination  of all of our SSI UK employees and associated contract personnel to making this a successful business built on Teesside’s proud heritage.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the many stakeholders who continue to demonstrate their support as we strive to establish the Teesside plant as a successful  and sustainable business in the global market”