Forges de Clabecq Tubize
Rooted in a small iron forge dating back to 1781, the activity of Clabecq's ironworks lasted through four centuries. A few years after the official foundation of the Forges of Clabecq in 1888, a modern coke-fired blast furnace plant was realized along the Bruxelles-Charleroi canal. The first blast furnace was fired up in 1910, followed by a second one in 1911 and two more in 1912-1913. A fifth furnace was built in 1956, along with an ore agglomeration plant. Coke was produced by the company's own coking plant in Bruxelles-Vilvoorde. With the further addition of a LDAC oxygen steelworks and rolling mills in early 1960s, and especially of the sixth blast furnace (3.500 tons/year of pig iron) in 1972, the number of people employed in the steel complex reached the peak of 5000. The global steel crisis of mid 1970s forced the Belgian steel industry to undertake a deep restructuring.
Nevertheless new market situation showed a different direction. DUFERCO found modernization of its blast furnace no.4 in Charleroi more crucial and the investments in Clabecq were terminated. The mill was shutdown in 2001 definitly. The site was 90% demolished by 2012.
By Viktor Macha in 2005.
Plant facts and figures
The plant have an annual capacity of 100000 tons.
The following processes are conducted in the plant:
- Iron making
This plant produces the following type of products:
- Pig iron
Majestic ironworks situated southwards from Bruxelles are one of the very last fragments of prewar heavy-industrial architecture in Europe.
Two old blast furnaces constructed during the first decade of 20th century (1909 and 1911) are unique today despite of fact, that these bucket hoists were standard in most smelting plants around Europe until the first half of past century.
After the former owner “Forges De Clabecq” went bankrupt, whole site was bought by italian-swedish company DUFERCO and the pig-iron production was restarted – however only modern furnace no.6, furnace no.2 was completely relined meanwhile.
Nevertheless new market situation showed a different direction. DUFERCO found modernization of its blast furnace no.4 in Charleroi more crucial and the investments in Clabecq were terminated. The mill was shutdown in 2001 definitly.
Nearly 80 years old blast furnace no.1 was demolished in April 2010. No.6 followed in September 2012. The furnace no.2 is preserved by now.