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Keokuk Steel Castings Shutdown Announced

Dec. 29, 2015
Declining demand in oil-and-gas markets cited in decision to close 79-year-old valve foundry “Capital expenditures … have declined significantly” 192 workers notified Remaining orders to be filled

Matrix Metals LLC, the industrial group that operates three foundries in North America and a fourth in India, plans to close Keokuk Steel Castings in Keokuk, IA, citing the decline in demand for cast products used in oil-and-gas exploration and drilling. Many of its products are valves and other products for that industry, offered in a wide range of steel grades.

“The decision to close the plant was caused by significantly decreased demand in the industries the facility serves, namely the oil-and-gas industries,” according to Matrix Metals CEO Rob Kukowski, in a statement. “Capital expenditures in these industries have declined significantly over the past several years. Most notably, the oil-and-gas industries have experienced steep decreases in exploration and drilling due to the recent global decrease in energy prices.”

Keokuk Steel’s 192 workers were advised of the closing earlier this month. The standard 60-day notification of a plant closing, as required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, would put the final date on or about February 6.

According to Matrix Metals, the operation will fulfill its remaining orders before closing.

Richmond, TX-based Matrix Metals is a holding of India’s Sanmar Group Ltd. that, through its four plants produces up to 60,000 tons of steel castings annually. In addition to Keokuk Steel Castings, its operations include Acerlan Foundry, in San Juan Del Rio, Mexico; Nepco International, in Richmond, TX; and Sanmar Foundries Ltd., Viralimalai, India.

Keokuk Steel Castings was established in 1936 and operates a 300,000-ft2 plant producing carbon, alloy, and stainless steel parts to oil-and-gas, nuclear, military, mining, rail, and construction equipment markets.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)