First Published December 2019, updated September 2021
The history of the ARBED Esch-Schifflange steelworks began in 1871 when they were founded by the Metz family in 1871, as the “Usine Metz”. The first blast furnace was erected in the same year with the financial help of the “Societe des Mines d’Esch”, “Societe des Forges de Sarrebruck” and the banking group Berger. By the end of 1873 three more blast furnaces had been installed on the site. In 1911 the “Usine Metz” became part of ARBED (Acieries Reunies Burbach-Eich-Dudelange) and three more blast furnaces. (I am not sure whether any of the old ones were demolished but it seems like at some stage there were 7 blast-furnaces operating at Esch-Schifflange). The blast furnaces 2,5 and 6 were replaced in 1955, 1959 and 1964.
In 1913 the first wire rod mill was installed and in 1925 the three steelworks Esch-Belval, Terre-Rouge and Esch-Schifflange were connected by a gas pipeline. The first rolling mill was constructed in 1963 and in 1980 the steelwork was converted to the continuous casting of blooms. The first electric blast furnace was installed in the 1990s. In 1994 ARBED Esch-Schifflange merged with the Belgian company “Metallurgie et Miniere de Rodange-Athus” (MMRA) to form the “Acieries Rodange Esch-Schifflange” (ARES). In 2002, the site became part of the Arcelor group which consisted of ARBED and the steel-producing companies Arcalia from Spain and Usinor from France. In 2006 Arcelor was taken over by Mittal Steel to form ArcelorMittal and the site closed down in 2013 due to downturn in the economy. A slightly more detailed timeline (up to 1971) of the history of the Esch-Schifflange site can be found on Industrie.lu.
Note that “permission visits” and private guided tours can be arranged through Ferroforum. I recently arranged such a private tour, with plenty opportunities to take photos and it was well worth it. My guide, a previous employe who worked at ARBED Esch-Schifflange for more than 40 years brought the site to life, with his explanations, stories and anecdotes.
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