Using 175 kg of explosives, teams from specialist contractor Thompsons of Prudhoe brought down the casting houses, the dust catcher, charge conveyors and the blast furnace at the Redcar steelworks.
Clean up operations at the site will now continue into next year.
The four stoves which heated the blast furnace will be brought down in a separate demolition in the coming month.
The blast furnace was shut down for the final time in 2015 with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs. From this came of the creation of the Mayoral Development Corporation on 4,500 acres south of the River Tees in 2017, which was relaunched as Teesworks in 2020. The blast furnace site is now earmarked for the BP-led Net Zero Teesside project.
Thompsons of Prudhoe has spent months working on the site to remove hazardous materials and prepare the structure for demolition. Preparations have involved cleaning heavy fuel oil and coke oven gas residues and removing asbestos. Ducting, pipework, walkways, vessels and columns have been stripped out using cranes, rope pulling felling techniques and ultra-high reach machines.
Project Manager Mike Stoddart explained how a complex prop design system was in place to aid the explosive demolition. “We work from the bottom up rather than top down using the explosives. It’s a very challenging project – it’s the sheer scale of it.
“It’s heavy. We can use burning equipment, but two-and-a-half-inch steel and cast iron staves on the inside of the blast furnace don’t cut easily.”