Tata Steel said on Friday it will close its two blast furnaces in Britain by the end of this year, resulting in up to 2,800 workers potentially losing their jobs at its steelworks plant in Wales.

The closures are part of India-owned Tata Steel's plan to turnaround its loss-making UK steelmaking business by switching to lower carbon electric arc furnaces, a proposal backed by 500 million pounds of government money.

Tata Steel said it would start a consultation process as part of its restructuring plan. It said that about 2,500 roles were likely to be impacted in the next 18 months, with 2,800 jobs affected overall and it would try to maximise voluntary redundancies.

"The course we are putting forward is difficult, but we believe it is the right one," Tata Steel Chief Executive T V Narendran said. "We must transform at pace to build a sustainable business in the UK for the long-term."

Tata Steel employs more than 8,000 people in the UK, but the warning that as many as 3,000 of those jobs could go came in September when the government announced a funding package to help safeguard 5,000 jobs.

The electric arc furnaces are operated by fewer workers compared to the blast furnaces. (Reporting by Sarah Young and Farouq Suleiman, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)