The Pryor Times

February 25, 2014

Carbide plant closing

Staff Writer
Susan Wagoner

PRYOR, OK — On Thursday, Central Carbide LLC announced the closing of the Pryor plant in March. Approximately 45 workers are affected by the closing.

“Due to market conditions there just aren’t enough sales coming out of this facility right now,” General Manager Mike Simons said.

According to a press release, Central Carbide will continue to meet its obligations to customers and honor contracts with calcium carbide sourced from their sister plant, Carbide Industries LLC in Louisville, Ky.

The former Midwest Carbide plant sat idle for several years before Elkem purchased the facility and started production in 2004.

A private equity group purchased the facility and its assets in 2008 doing business as Central Carbide LLC.

Simons said the main focus at this point is to assist employees as they seek other employment.

“We announced the closing early. By doing that, we can give our employees four or five more weeks of work that produces a paycheck,” Simons said, adding that each employee will be given a severance package when the plant closes.

“As a company, we intend to assist our employees through this transition,” Simons said. “We have respect for the great amount of integrity represented in our employees. They will be an asset to any company that hires them.”

According to Simons, there is no plan at this time to sell the facility, but there are also no plans to reopen in the future.

“We consider this a permanent closure of the furnace,” he said.

Simons said his goal is an orderly, safe shutdown as well as assisting employees in their effort to locate other employment.

“Mayes County has been good to us,” he said. “We want to return the respect and kindness that we’ve been shown.

Employees will continue to work until the end of March. According to the press release, the company will work with appropriate government agencies and the community to help make the transition for all affected employees as smooth as possible.

The plant manufactures calcium carbide which is used primarily in the welding industry. Mixed with water, calcium carbide produces acetylene gas.