Carleton P. Palmer III, board chairman and chief executive officer said no decision has been made about the number of employees who may be laid off as a result. Becase the company has several quarries in the region and hiring activity normally picks up in the spring, Palmer said he hopes it will involve 20 or fewer employees.
He said the decision to close the lime operation came after consideration of all of its alternatives. He said the company has experienced significant growth in demand for its construction materials and mineral products, and plans to direct substantial future capital investment toward growing these segments of its business.
He said National Lime & Stone plans to modernize and enhance its Carey operation to increase production of construction aggregates and industrial mineral products. The Carey plant expansion also would include a large investment in high-volume rail transportation capabilities.
National Lime & Stone is the largest domestic producer of dried dolomitic stone used to manufacture flat glass. Other industrial minerals manufactured by the company are used in the roofing, steel, agriculture, automotive and insulation industries.
"The lime business represents just a small fraction of National's total revenues, and it has been operated at a loss for four of the last six years," Palmer said. "The move was triggered by tremendous consolidation of the lime industry in the past several years, and U.S. production is currently dominated by three major companies, two of which are foreign-owned."
Production of lime has been a part of the company's business at Carey since it was founded in 1903. The Carey plant also manufactures industrial mineral products and mines construction materials at Carey.