Haut Fourneau 4
THE ABANDONED BLAST FURNACE IN BELGIUM
‘Haut Fourneau 4’ is the blast furnace of Marcinelle, Charleroi. HF4 produced iron for the rolling mill sites at La Louvière and Clabecq. It produced about 6 thousand tonnes of cast iron per day.
In 1963 HF4 was inaugurated by the company Thy-Marcinelle. During 1966 the company merged with ‘Aciéries et Minières de la Sambre’ to form ‘Forges de Thy-Marcinelle-Monceau’.
In 1981 started a complete merger of the entire Walloon steel industry in a single company, namely Cockerill Sambre. As a result the factory was modernized. More work was done on the HF4 in 1994 to significantly increase production. In 1999 Cockerill Sambre was taken over by the French Usinor. Later the company integrated into Luxembourg based Arcelor, but this Marcinelle site is sold to the Italian company Duferco who renames it Carsid. In 2007 the blast furnace is shut down for maintenance to make the plant less polluting.
During 2008 the nearby cokes factory closed its doors. Consequently the factory had to import its cokes directly from Russia, but the coke is of poor quality and very expensive. Then one of the most important buyers of the Charleroi steel, the car industry, almost collapsed. As a result the site was put on stand-by in late 2008, waiting for better times and a restart of the cokes site. Eventually in 2011 it became clear the furnace would never be ignited again. At the present time the owner and city are debating to keep the blast furnace as industrial monument or to demolish the site. I took these photos of ‘Haut Fourneau 4’ in 2011 and 2019. The coal mining and steel industry nicknamed the region Pays Noir, follow this link for more reports of this region.