Wallonian hot strip mill in La Louvière refers to more than a hundred and fifty years tradition of iron and steel production. The first smelter was founded in 1853 under the name of "Fonderies et Laminoirs Ernest Boucquéau". After founder´s death in 1880, the plant was inherited to his favorite employee, Mr. Gustave Boël, under whose influence the works were greatly expanded.
In 1903 already, the first Thomas converter was installed and followed by first two blast furnaces in 19123. As the plant was severely damaged during the First World War the production was restarted in 1924. The production cycle included new coking plant, two blast furnaces, Thomas steelworks, open-hearth furnaces, rolling mills, iron foundry and forge.
The other two blast furnaces were built between 1930-1937.
A significant upgrade in current production was done in 1967, when two basic oxygen furnaces were put into operation. In 1972 the last blast furnace (no.6) was constructed.
In 1997 the Boël works became part of dutch steel company Hoogovens,the blast furnace department and steel making shop was shutdown soon after. Two years later the mill was taken over by Duferco Group, which sold the rolling mill division Russian company NLMK in 2011.
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