THE ABANDONED STEEL FACTORY IN BELGIUM
This is the abandoned blast furnace HFB. It was part of the Liege Steel industry that collapsed due to the economic crisis.
After a merge of different local steel factories, the ‘Sociéte Anonym Ougrée-Marihaye’ was formed in 1900. It was one of the primary metal producers in Belgium. By 1914 it operated 8 blast furnaces, and had a steel production capacity of 500 thousand tonnes. It produced semi- and finished products such as bars, plates, beams, and rails. The German occupation during the First World War brought much damage to the Liege region and its industries. After the war, only two blast furnaces were operational. The rebuilding took place between 1919 and 1924.
In 1955 the company merged with the ‘Société anonyme John Cockerill’ to form ‘Cockerill-Ougrée’. This plant ‘HFB’ was built in 1962 and modernized in 1967. The factory in Ougrée became one of the primary hot production sites of the ‘ArcelorMittal Liege’ division, along with works at Seraing and Chertal. Due to the economic downturn caused by the financial crisis of 2007–2010 blast furnace B temporarily stopped production from spring 2009 to April 2010. But in 2011 all liquid steel production in the ‘ArcelorMittal Liege’ division was ended, resulting in protests, strikes, and the temporary encapsulation of several ArcellorMittal executives in protest against the closure.