After more than a century in business, one of the two cement plants in Mason City is shutting its doors, eliminating 165 jobs. Holcim Cement Company confirms they’ll mothball not only their Mason City plant but as well a plant in Artesia, Mississippi.
Holcim U.S. president and CEO Bernard Terver says in a written statement that the measures are being taken in light of the nation’s struggling economy and despite the federal stimulus package, existing market conditions and the forecasted significant reduction in cement demand has led to the announcement.
Terver also says the Portland Cement Association projects that cement consumption will continue to decline in 2009 and demand is forecasted to be 25% below the 2005 levels until at least 2011.
Terver says they will "mothball" the operation and secure the plant in such a way that operating permits and equipment will be preserved for possible future operations, but admits that there is no current timeline for possible future operations since it will depend on the economy in the future.
The Mason City plant celebrated its 100th anniversary last May, having started operations in 1908 as the Northwestern States Portland Cement Company under the MacNider family. The Swiss group Holcim purchased the plant from the MacNiders in 1990 and continued production under the name Holnam before changing to Holcim in 2001.
According to information provided by the company as part of last May’s centennial celebration, the plant was employing 165 people and contributed more than $60-million to the Iowa economy with nearly one-million metric tons of various types of cement being produced at the plant.