Haut-Fourneau 6 Seraing
THE ABANDONED BLAST FURNACE IN BELGIUM
This is ‘Haut-Fourneau 6’ or ‘HF6’, a blast-furnace in the Liege region of Belgium. It was built in 1958 by ‘SA Société Métallurgique d’Espérance-Longdoz’, an ancient Belgian coal mining and steelmaking company dating back to 1836.
The main steel production of this company were concentrated along the Meuse river: four blast furnaces, a steel plant, a coke plant and several rolling mills.
At its start in 1959, the HF6 was amongst the largest and most technically advanced blast furnace in Europe. For instance, it had a capacity of 1800–2000 tons of pig iron a day. In 1970 ‘Espérance-Longdoz’ and its facilities, including HF6, were taken over by the other Liège-based steel enterprise ‘Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence’. Coupled with this group, it became the fifth-largest steelmaker in the European Economic Community.
Eventually, the Cockerill group merged in 1981 with the Charleroi-based Hainaut-Sambre, giving birth to Cockerill-Sambre. In Liège, only blast furnaces HF6 and HFB were left in activity. During the ownership of Cockerill-Sambre, HF6 was largely renovated and refurbished. Further improvements occurred after the company’s transformation into Arcelor in 1999. Nevertheless, in the first 2000s, Arcelor announced its intention to progressively cease any steelmaking activity in the Liège area due to a persistent market crisis.
As a result of the crisis, HF6 was turned off in 2005, but thanks to a vast social mobilization and unions bargaining, it was not dismantled. In fact, the factory was kept on stand-by for a possible future restart. One year later, Arcelor merged with Mittal Steel, forming the largest steelmaking company worldwide, Arcelor-Mittal. The new owner restarted HF6 in 2008. However, due to the global economic crisis and the fall of the price of steel, the activity lasted for just nine months. As a result, the furnaces went on stand-by again.
After the new closure, the dismantling and demolition process begun in 2016. The photos from ‘Haut-Fourneau 6’ were taken in 2016. The site was demolished in 2017.