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U.S. Silica plant to stay open

December 03, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- With Golden Gate Capital taking over ownership of U.S. Silica last week, no moves or office closings are anticipated.

John Ulizio, U.S. Silica chief executive, said he has "every expectation" the offices will remain at the Berkeley Springs plant off U.S. 522.

The plant will stay open, he said.

The industrial sand producing company employs about 83 people at the plant and about 50 people at its corporate offices.

Ulizio said the majority of the plant employees live in Morgan County, and just a few corporate office employees are from Berkeley Springs. Others reside in Berkeley and Jefferson counties in the Eastern Panhandle, in Washington County, Md., in Fulton County, Pa., and in Winchester, Va.

The combination of the new San Francisco-based owner's business expertise "combined with our knowledge of the sand, will make it a better company," Ulizio said.

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U.S. Silica will become more efficient in its productivity, he said, and will focus on its core business and invest in specialty products, including frac sand, which is used in well drilling for producing natural gas, and on clear glass, which is used in solar applications.

U.S. Silica has been purchased three times in the last 18 months, he said.

Golden Gate says it put $200 million into the purchase and capital for U.S. Silica, the second-largest industrial sand producer in the country.

The company employs 675 people at 13 sand and mineral mines and processing plants in the Midwest and East.

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