North Dakota Foundry Goes Dark

Integra Castings closes without notice or explanation

As reported by the Associated Press from Bismark, ND, Integra Castings in Cando, ND, ceased operation in late June and local business officials expressed confusion about the reasons for the shutdown. About 60 workers were left unemployed and the foundry’s manager was unavailable for comment.

The suddenness of the closing had local officials suspicious, with police monitoring the facility.

An official of the Towner County (ND) Economic Development Corp. said in 2002 Integra Castings got an infusion of more than $600,000 in state and local loans and grants, as well as some private capital, which were intended to keep the foundry operating after it was closed in one of a series of health- and safety-violation disputes.

Integra was fined $325,000 in 1999 for violations including electrical hazards, lack of respiratory protection for workers and overexposure of employees to silica. Integra negotiated a settlement of that fine to $62,130, according to Bruce Beelman, area director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Then, following 2004 site inspection, in January of this year the foundry was fined about $16,000 for exposed wiring and unguarded machinery, along with other health and safety violations. Beelman told AP the fine was reduced to $10,350, which was paid and Integra agreed to fix the problems.

Referring to the 2002 cash infusion as well as start-up loans from 1995, JoAnn Rodenbiker of the Economic Development Corp. told AP: "To my knowledge there has been no return on that stock at this point. Until the company is declared insolvent through bankruptcy and dissolves, there will always be the obligation out there."

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