Nova Scotia

Fundy Gypsum may reopen some day

The American owners of the idled Fundy Gypsum Co. quarry operations near Windsor are holding out the possibility the operation may reopen someday.
The Fundy Gypsum Co. mine might reopen some day, the company says. ((CBC))
The American owners of the idled Fundy Gypsum Co. quarry operations near Windsor are holding out the possibility the operation may reopen someday.

"The property is not for sale," USG Corporation spokesperson Robert Williams told CBC News Tuesday.

"It is possible that the operation will someday be reopened, but that is not management’s intent at this time," he said in an email from corporate headquarters in Chicago.

In late October, USG decided to permanently close its quarry and ship loading facility in Hants County, incurring more than $50-million (US) in charges.

Earlier this year the company had idled the operation throwing 42 people out of work. The company is maintaining a skeleton crew and the gates remain open.

"There are currently seven people employed at the plant.  It is our desire that those seven people will remain employed there, but we cannot be certain of that," Williams said.

Fundy is not the only Nova Scotia rock gypsum quarry facing financial difficulties because of the slumping American housing market and the use of synthetic gypsum.

Pat Mills of National Gypsum said business is down. ((CBC))
In Milford, National Gypsum manager Pat Mills said production has stabilized, but is half what it was before the recession.

"We've gone from four-million, 3.5-million tonnes down to two to 1.5-million tonnes a year. We've gone from 95 to 100 shiploads a year down to 35 or 40 per year. Our number of employees has gone from 100 down to about 50," he said.

Mills, who is also president of Nova Scotia's mining industry association, predicts a return in demand for gypsum rock.

Since mid-October, Georgia Pacific has "temporarily" laid off 27 employees. Forty-five workers remain at its two quarries and ship loading facility near Port Hawkesbury.

Speaking from Atlanta, Georgia, spokesperson Eric Abercrombie blamed the lay-offs on the continued slump in the U.S. housing market.

"We are constantly evaluating our operations," he said.

now