Duferco Steel Works, La Louvière, Belgium
The Duferco steel works at Usine Gustave Boël made long steel products until production ceased in 2013. The NLMK areas of the plant are still in use.
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The Usine Gustave Boël located in La Louvière is a big part of the steel making history of Belgium. The steel works was established in 1853 by Ernest Boucquéau on the bank of the Brussels–Charleroi Canal and in proximity to the Manage to Mons railway line.
Gustave Boël was an accountant working for Boucquéau. In 1862 Boucquéau founded a railway company which put a financial strain on the steel works, enough to almost bankrupt the company, and was rescued by Boël who gave financial help. On the death of Boucquéau in 1880 he bequeathed the company to Boël.
The steel works grew and by the 1900s was employing over 1,200 people. The works were rebuilt in 1919 following the First World War, including two blast furnaces. Further expansion in the 1930s and 40s added two further blast furnaces, and a further two in 1958 and 1972. By the 1970s the works employed 3,200 people.
From the 1970s onward the works experienced a decline in production. The company was sold to Duferco in 1998, who demolished the blast furnaces in the early 2000s. In 2006 Duferco formed a joint venture with the russian firm NLMK. The joint venture ended in 2011, with Duferco retaining the long-products activities at La Louviere while NLMK kept the flat products section.
Duferco ceased operations at La Louviere in 2013, with the loss of 450 jobs. The NLMK areas of the factory are still in operation.
Finishing off in the old boiler house…