Carmeuse Lime and Stone will lay off as much as a third of its workforce next month.
Kevin Whyte, senior vice president of legal, environmental and business development for Carmeuse, said fewer than 30 employees will lose their jobs next month. The Carmeuse plant in Strasburg employs 76 people, Whyte said.
Whyte said he couldn’t give exact figures because the plant is still determining how many people will be laid off, but said the number would be less than 30.
Employees most likely to lose their jobs are those who work on the lime kiln — the portion of the plant Carmeuse is closing down.
The plant is split into three major pieces, Whyte said — the aggregate plant, the hydrate plant, and the kiln. He said that explanation was an oversimplification but it helped illustrate how the plant is made up.
“Generally, the people who are committed to the lime plant are the people that will be impacted by the layoffs,” Whyte said.
Last month, Whyte explained that cheap natural gas and an overall trend moving away from coal-fired plants are impacting the limestone industry.
While limestone isn’t directly used in coal-fired plants, the “rock dust” manufactured at Carmeuse plants is used in coal mines. The dust, produced at Carmeuse plants, is sprayed in mines to prevent explosions.
Whyte said Carmeuse has no plans for any changes at its recently expanded plant in Winchester. Around 10 employees losing their jobs in Strasburg will be offered jobs at the plant in Clear Brook, Whyte wrote in an email to the Northern Virginia Daily.
The exact number of layoffs and the amount of time between when employees learn they are being laid off and their last day on the job is undetermined, Whyte said. The uncertainty is the result of the company still determining which individuals will be impacted.