Cement plant in Joppa shuts down half of operations - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cement plant in Joppa shuts down half of operations

JOPPA, IL (KFVS) -

One of the kilns at the LaFarge Cement Plant in Joppa, Illinois will shut down, leaving 36 workers without a job.

LaFarge North America announced the shut down of the plant's Kiln 2.  This is half of the facility.  According to the company, staffing will be reduced to meet operation demands.

About a third of the 105 workers at the plant have lost their jobs.

LaFarge will continue to operate the plant and its associated Cave-In-Rock Quarry and manufacture specialty well cement on its Kiln 1.

The company cites the continued challenging economic environment as the reason for shutting down one of the kilns. 

"The shutdown was due to the state of the economy and the weak demand for cement, " said Louis Derose-Environmental and Public Relations Manager-Lafarge Cement Plant in Joppa. "Cement sales since 2006 have fallen 44%."

The plant operated two long dry kilns, Kiln 1 and Kiln 2, with a total plant output of 1.25 million tons per year. LaFarge purchased the cement plant in 1991.

Lafarge announced the construction of a new 7,200 ton per day preheater-precalciner kiln in 2006. Construction of the new kiln and related equipment continues.

The plant will begin to mothball kiln 2 which means it will keep the kiln in working order but not use it on a constant basis.

LaFarge will continue to provide cement to its Type I/II customers from other manufacturing sources.

John Stull, the Lafarge CEO for US aggregate, concrete and cement operations released this statement on the shutdown: "The Joppa and Cave-In-Rock employees have demonstrated tremendous professionalism and commitment over the years and many have worked at the plant for decades. We recognize the impact this decision will have on their lives and their families and we will help them during this difficult transition. Lafarge looks forward to many years of continued operation in Southern Illinois, both with Kiln 1 and its specialty products, and when the new kiln comes on line."

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