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HF6 Liege

HF6 Liege

Belgium

Whe blast furnace (HF6 – Haut Fourneau6 ) was built in 1957 by the company Esperance-Longdoz, which at this stage was still a big name in the Liège metallurgy industry. It owned several subsidiaries around the world, various coal mines and five blast furnaces. Blast Furnaces I and II were constructed in 1838 and 1839 respectively, blast furnaces III and IV in 1911.  Finally, blast furnace V was constructed in 1954 by the Luxembourgish engineering company Paul Wurth.  In the late 1950s only blast furnace V was deemed to be  economically viable and it was therefore decided to build a sixth, more modern blast furnace, a giant for the time. Ignited on April 28, 1959, it produced 1,200 tons of cast iron in 24 hours and thus had nearly double the capacity of blast furnace V which was only constructed 5 years earlier. Several upgrades later daily production increased to nearly 3600 tonnes in 1993. 

In the early 2000s, blast furnace 6 saw its last hours of glory. Forty-six years after its inauguration in 1959, it was stopped in 2005, as part of the strategic plan led by Arcelor to stop the hot phase of the Walloon steel industry, which caused a great stir in the population. It was reignited in 2008 by the ArcelorMittal group, which had just taken over the Liège steel industry, at a time when steel orders were increasing and when more cast iron had to be supplied to the Chertal steelworks. The relighting ceremony, on February 27, 2008, takes place in an atmosphere of popular jubilation, where everyone is proud to display the symbolic gas lighter distributed as a souvenir. However, the euphoria was short-lived as the global economic crisis spelt the end of the HF6. It finally closed its doors in December 2008 and was blown up on December the 16th, 2016. Today, nothing remains of these once proud steelworks apart from the power station.