IMC-Agrico plants shutting down

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 5, 2001

Daniel Tyler Gooden

ST JAMES – IMC-Agrico Global announced Wednesday that it will indefinitely shut down all phosphate fertilizer production in its Louisiana plants, starting in mid-January.
An estimated 330 employees are working at the phosphate plants in Louisiana. IMCs Taft plant has been idle since 1999, with the 330 employees concentrated in St. James Parish, at both the Faustina plant on the west bank and Uncle Sam on the east bank.
Rodie Martin, spokesperson for the St. James Parish facilities, stated they would lay off their workers as slowly as possible, as the plant is being shut down. Though there will be layoffs, Martin had not been advised as to how many employees will be let go.
“We are going to keep a core group at the plants so when we get orders, they can handle the sorting,” said Martin. The core group will be made up of the majority of the 330 employees currently working at the plants, Martin added. Other duties performed by the core group will be maintenance of the plant and training. Workers who are laid off will receive severance benefits and outplacement counseling.
“What we will be doing now is an extended shut down of the plants. All Louisiana phosphate production will be shut down indefinitely,” said Martin.
The closure, added with previous production cutbacks totals a reduction of 1.5 million short tons of phosphoric acid capacity and 3.5 million of granulation capacity for diammonium phosphate and monoammonium phosphate. IMCs annual production will thus but reduced to about 55 percent of possible capacity.
“This decisive move to indefinitely shut down our entire Louisiana production base is being made to better balance supply and demand,” said Steven Demetriou, senior vice president of IMC Global and president of IMC Phosphates. “We are positioned to supply our key customers through inventory and supply strategies for an extended shutdown until market conditions improve,” he added.