Car builders Ford announced the closure of the plant in 2012. The factory eventually closed its doors in December 2014. An estimated 6,000 jobs were axed in the process. The Ford plant had a long history, starting back in the sixties. The closure was another blow for Limburg province, which had to recover from the closure of the coal mines earlier.
The big site measures 100 hectares (1 kilometre by 1 kilometre). 40 hectares would be taken over by the new investor. The Flemish government had demanded new investors to create at least 15 jobs per hectare, but Bourgeois confirmed that there will be 25 jobs per hectare, which makes a total of 1,000 jobs.
Though Bourgeois refused to reveal the investor's name, the VRT learned from reliable sources that it is poised to be Groep Machiels, a logistics and waste management group.
There was more good news: Limburg no longer has a higher unemployment rate than the rest of Flanders. It is now at 6.7 percent in the former mining region, which is exactly the Flemish average.