So i have had this abandoned factory in Gosselies on my radar for quite some time, possibly before it had even closed. I had a look on my previous trip but it wasn't feasible to attempt at midday with lots of contractors on site.
Skip forward a few weeks and a return visit in the early hours become far more productive. We find ourselves inside in a huge warehouse, its totally empty. We head on and it doesn't seem too promising a few bits but nothing really interesting and then another empty warehouse. Its not looking good and while trying to be discrete we trigger sensors for large automated roller doors which certainly made us jump.
We make a run through no mans land to the next building, we make it inside and finally find what we are looking for!!
After shooting the large number of robots and other various bits we attempt to head on to the next building and are fairly close when we spot contractors entering the building in a van. We have no idea how they didn't see us. We realise we have outstayed our welcome and decide to make the long journey back through the site. This results in a game of cat and mouse as more workers arrive but we eventually leave undetected.
Production started at this 100 hectare site in 1965 producing hydraulic excavators and medium wheeled loaders. Within two years the site was pumping out 40 machines a month. Various expansions took place over the years but in 2013 there were losses of over 1000 staff even though 200 million euros was invested in the site shortly leading up to this. I would guess the investments were in automation to reduce production costs. Sadly during 2017 production here ceased with the loss of around 2000 jobs. This was a heavy blow to the city of Charleroi where around one in four people are unemployed.
Due to a dispute between the government and Caterpillar the site was sold to the government for one euro. The site was being maintained in the hope of an investor taking it on. Well luck may be in for the city of Charleroi. The Chinese company Thunder Power are now in discussions of taking on the site to produce electric vehicles here.
Thanks for looking. Please follow me on the social media below and add your email to the box for notifications of future posts on here.