Keokuk Steel Castings

Keokuk Steel Castings

Nearly 200 steelworkers in southeast Iowa will be losing their jobs within a few months.

Matrix Metals announced Wednesday it will close its Keokuk Steel Castings plant during the first quarter of 2016. Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion said there’s likely no way to convince the company to keep the plant open. “I don’t think there is any way to reverse it,” Marion said.

He spoke this week with the head of the plant. “Basically, he just paints a bad picture and it’s a done deal,” Marion said. Keokuk Steel Castings has been in business for roughly 80 years. The plant produces materials used primarily in the oil and gas industries.

Matrix Metals CEO Rob Kukowski, in a statement, blamed the closure on “significantly decreased demand.” The plant employs 192 people, which is down from more than 500 just three years ago.

(Thanks to Jason Parrott, Tri States Public Radio)