Forges de Clabecq
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. The Forges de Clabecq gradually lost ground in the fierce competition between the larger groups Sidmar and Cockerill, leading to a progressive dismantling of its facilities. The company went bankruptcy in 1996. A failed attempt to resume the activities, carried on by Duferco, ended up into the definitive closure in 2001. The site was 90% demolished by 2012.