Nova Scotia

Cape Breton gypsum company builds operations and hires new workers

Cabot Gypsum in Point Tupper, N.S., is is powering up its operations and adding to its workforce to manufacture a new, high-end exterior product.

Cabot Gypsum plant hiring more workers to meet 'strong market' on Eastern Seaboard

Cabot Gypsum is hiring more people as it ramps up production. (Cabot Gypsum)

A Point Tupper, N.S., gypsum plant is powering up its operations and adding to its workforce to manufacture a new, high-end exterior product.

Cabot Gypsum, owned by Acadian Drywall Supplies Ltd., has been able to expand due to an influx of capital from a Texan investor. 

The company has been producing wallboard in its Point Tupper plant since 2011. It has now added blueglass to its product line, a tough exterior product that resists moisture, mildew and mould, said plant manager Joe Turner.

"We've invested a lot of money" in production equipment and maintenance procedures, he said.

'We are looking for millwrights'

The company recently hired production workers and is currently looking for millwrights, said assistant plant manager Francis Eyking. Right now, about 50 people work at the site.

"We're under new ownership. If there are any millwrights in Cape Breton, or are interested in returning, we are looking for millwrights," he said.

"We just hired a number of production employees with young families."

In 2010, Nova Scotia Business Inc. took over ownership of the site after Federal Gypsum went bankrupt. Before that, it was operated by U.S. Gypsum. In 2011, Acadia Drywall began operating the plant. It negotiated the purchase of the building and property from NSBI in October.

Market 'pretty strong'

Little Narrows Gypsum is idled indefinitely but Cabot Gypsum of Point Tupper says it is ramping up operations. (CBC)

Right now, the market for gypsum products is "pretty strong," Turner said.

He said the Eastern Seaboard markets, in particular, are good. The plant also ships to Alberta and British Columbia. It's target output is 650,000 square metres per month.

Right now, the raw gypsum is coming from a mine on mainland Nova Scotia. But that could change.

Turner said the company is considering quarries closer to Point Tupper. Gypsum, the second most important mineral resource to the Nova Scotia economy behind coal, has been mined throughout Cape Breton since the 1800s.

But Georgia-Pacific Corp. shut down its mining operations in Melford and Sugar Camp, Inverness County, in 2011. In November, the gypsum plant and quarry in Little Narrows, Victoria County, announced it was also idling its operations indefinitely.

With files from Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith