Réhon’s Converter Zoo

Cockerill’s construction of a new melt shop in Réhon, France in 1978 was the last major investment into the dying steel basin of Longwy.
The two O.B.M. converters (Oxygen Bodenblasen Maxhütte) were installed in the relocated halls of the former Thomas steelworks in Ougree, Belgium, closed down in 1975.
Between June and October 1979 Cockerill now operated a real converter zoo in Réhon.
Consisting of:
Two new 80 t O.B.M converters.
Two old 26 t former Thomas converters which were converted to O.B.M. in 1973.
Three 23 t Thomas converters from 1953
and a 36 t O.L.P. (Oxygen Lance Poudre) converter from 1963.
There was also an electric steel plant.
Since the LD process, which was successfully used worldwide, could not be applied due to the high-phosphor domestic ores, numerous new steel production processes were introduced in Lorraine.
None of them was very sustainable.
The Thomas converters were shut down in October 1979, the old O.B.M. converters and the O.L.P. steelworks one year later.
On 30.7.1987, after only 8 years of operation, the new O.B.M. steel plant, now owned by USINOR, was shut down too. In 1980 a third converter had been added.

Book About Longwy’s Legendary Steel Industry


Already about a year old but still highly recommended:
“L’industrie du fer dans le bassin de Longwy des origines à nos jours”
588 pages crammed with information (in French) and hundreds of photos about  Longwy’s legendary steel mills (Longwy, Senelle, La Chiers and Rehon).
60,00 EUR. ISBN/GTIN978-2-916782-62-1, Edition Fensch Vallee.

 

Longwy

Longwy

In the 1960ies the small town of Longwy, France (pop. 60000) still housed more than 20 blast furnaces. A unique density.
The mills were running on local iron ores of a rather poor quality that became uneconomical in the 1970ies with high quality iron ore shipped into Europe from overseas.
35 years ago, after the announcment of La Chiers’ closure, Longwy’s steel workers started their long and exceptional violent struggle to keep their jobs.
Since the closure of Arcelor’s wire rolling mill in 1998 there is no more steel industry in town.
Jean-Marie Ottelé site: www.industrie.lu is a unique source of information about the Terre Rouge (Red Earth) steel industry.

Longwy Map

1: Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence
Founded: 1865.
Closed: 1987
2: Lorraine-Escaut

Founded 1835

Closed 1987
3: Hauts Fourneaux De La Chiers

Founded:  1881

Closed: 1979
4:
Aciéries de Longwy
Founded: 1880

Closed:  1978
5: Hauts-Fourneaux Réunis de Saulnes et
Uckange
Founded: 1872

Closed: 1991

Hauts Fourneaux De La Chiers

Hauts Fourneaux De La Chiers, 1950ies