The closure of the coke ovens and blast furnace at SSI steel works in Redcar is the "worst possible news", local council leaders have said.
Hitting out at the government for not doing more, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council leader Sue Jeffrey said hearing the news was "an absolutely heartbreaking moment".
Our proud history of years of steelmaking has been torn out from under us.
We have been so proud of our heritage and I cannot believe it has slipped away in the space of a few weeks.
So many people have been affected by the closure - the steelworkers and their families, the supply chain and the wider economic impact this will have on our local area. It is devastating.
The council will do "everything possible" to help those affected, she added.
She also accused the government of inaction, allowing the closures to happen by not intervening sooner - and said the £80 million package of measures offered was "simply not enough".
" We now need to look at if the hard closure takes place as has been indicated, how we look to secure the site for the future and bring it back to contributing towards the economy in Redcar," she said.
Hundreds of families in the North East are struggling to come to terms with the impending closure of the SSI steelworks plant in Redcar.
The government has decided to allow the steel plant at Redcar to fail. A tough decision to make and obviously an unpopular one.
China's economy is slowing, and the aftershocks are being felt as far afield as Redcar.