The process of direct chill (DC) casting of aluminium and magnesium alloys is regarded as a mature technology. The thrust of more recent work to understand and upgrade the technology has been centred on developing models of the process, the most advanced of which (e.g., Alsim and Calcasoft) have been used to examine what may be considered macro-features of the process (macro-segregation, hot cracking, etc.). These models, being macroscopic, rarely elaborate on the role of mould-wall heat transfer in the DC casting process. As part of the work on DC casting being conducted at CAST, for the investigation of small scale features of the process (e.g. heat extraction through the mould wall), a 2D finite Difference model of the process near the mould-wall region has been developed. The basic features of the model are described and initial results outlined.In particular, the effect of mould-wall heat transfer on the solid shell formed during the steady state regime of DC casting will be presented.