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DuPont seeks a buyer for W.Va. plant

January 05, 2001

DuPont seeks a buyer for W.Va. plant



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


FALLING WATERS, W.Va. - E.I. Dupont De Nemours is selling its 49-year-old Falling Waters plant after determining it did not fit into its future goals, the manager of the plant said Thursday.

Dupont Business and Operations manager Max Burnham said he expects the plant to be sold to another company and predicted production of its Fasloc material will continue uninterrupted.

While Burnham would not go into specifics, he said he believes the staffing would remain about the same if Dupont were successful in finding a new owner for the plant.

The Dupont plant, along U.S. 11, employs about 100 people.

"I think we're staffed about right for what we need to do," Burnham said Thursday.

Burnham said he began notifying employees about the decision Wednesday.

Known as its Anchorage Systems business, the plant makes Fasloc, a product that is used to support coal mine roofs.

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Fasloc involves the use of steel rods and bolts that support mine roofs, Burnham said. Those materials are made by another company. Dupont makes a quick-setting grout that holds the bolts and rods in place, Burnham said.

Burnham predicted a new owner will be found for the plant because the Fasloc product remains strong in demand by coal companies throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky and other coal mining areas.

Burnham said the sale of the plant is illustrative of a common practice among big corporations like Dupont. Big companies routinely review their portfolio of operations and assess how they fit into the company's goals.

Dupont determined that its Anchorage Systems business was "not core to" its goals, Burnham said.

A buyer for the plant has not been found.

State Sen. John Unger said there are some good prospects, but he did not give specifics.

Unger said he called Burnham Thursday to offer him any help he needs, such as incentives from the state, to lure a new owner.

"It's vitally important that we keep that plant and keep those jobs in the Eastern Panhandle," said Unger, D-Berkeley.

Workers at the plant earn about $18 an hour, Burnham said.

The plant started in 1952 as a dynamite manufacturer. It made a variety of other explosives before getting out of the business in the mid-1980s, Burnham said.

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