Specialty Minerals to close local facility

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

A local industry announced Friday it will be consolidating itsoperations and closing its Brookhaven plant.

Specialty Minerals Inc., located in the community’s IndustrialPark, will be transferring its customers to a company-owned plantin Adams, Mass., and selling or liquidating the assets of theBrookhaven plant, officials announced in a press release. The localoperation is expected to close in early 2008.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said Mayor Bob Massengill afterhearing the news Friday afternoon. “We wish there would be a waythey could continue to function.”

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Approximately 12 employees at the Brookhaven plant will beaffected by the consolidation, which is the result of acompany-wide restructuring. Two hundred jobs will be eliminatedcompany wide.

The Brookhaven facility produces specialty precipitated calciumcarbonate for the plastics industry.

Massengill said Specialty Minerals is the city’s largest user ofwater, with usage varying between 3.5 million gallons a month and ahigh of around 11 million gallons a month. The facility also is thelargest cost factor in operations at the city’s waste watertreatment plant.

To meet infrastructure demands of the facility that opened in2000, the city approved a $2 million bond issue. Revenue from thefacilty’s operations was expected to offset bond issue costs.

Massengill said it is “a little premature” to speculate on thecity’s next step after the facility closes. He pointed out the citywill not have the revenue from the plant but also will not have thetreatment plant costs related to its operations.

“We’ll have to analyze the situation between now and the firstof the year and determine the direction we’re going to go,”Massengill said.

Minerals Technologies Inc., the parent company of SpecialtyMinerals, is a global resource and technology based company thatdevelops, produces and markets specialty mineral productsworldwide.

The company recorded sales of $1.06 billion in 2006, butreported a third quarter loss of $105.5 million due to realignmentactivities, according to the company’s Web site.