Essroc’s cement plant being idled and may be closed for good.

Essroc’s cement plant being idled and may be closed for good.
Published: 03 March 2009

Employees were told Monday that shutdown of operations will begin at the end of April and extend into the third quarter of this year. The plant employs about 110.

Essroc North America told workers last month that it was conducting a study on whether there was enough business to keep the local plant operating.

Marco Barbesta, a company spokesman, said the study found that Essroc has too much production capacity to keep the Bessemer operations going. The recession has greatly reduced the demand for cement.

The company said that the production of clinker will be stopped at the end of April. The milling of the clinker will continue until sometime in the third quarter.

Gradual layoffs will occur as the company winds down operations. A minimal staff will be kept on hand to manage the property.

Barbesta said the closing of the plant could become permanent based on business conditions. That decision will be made by the end of the year.

The company has four additional plants, in Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia, as well as plants in Canada and Puerto Rico.

In December, Essroc shut down a plant in Frederick, Md., and moved that production to its West Virginia plant.

The company’s North American operations are based in Nazareth, Pa., but it is a subsidiary of Italcementi Group, an Italian company.