NEW HAVEN, W.Va. - Felman Production on Friday announced it would immediately cease operations at its New Haven facility for three months due to continuous challenging ferrosilicomanganese market conditions.
During this period, the Felman Production's in-house slag processing unit will remain operational, the company said.
Felman and Eramet Marietta, separated by about 40 miles, are the last two manganese smelters in the United States.
Competition aside, the hope is things turn around for Felman, said Joy Frank-Collins, a spokesman for Eramet.
"No one wants to see this kind of news," she said.
Felman on May 17 announced a combination of the decline in prices for silicomanganese over the past several months and the continuing increase in manufacturing costs, such as electricity, led it to temporarily shut down a furnace on May 31 and to reduce its workforce.
Since the economic and market conditions continue to deteriorate, the decision to cease operations of all of its three furnaces immediately was difficult, but inevitable, the company said. Within the next two months, Felman plans to re-evaluate market conditions to determine whether operations will resume earlier or if the plant will remain closed for an additional period of time.
Felman, which employs 211 people, produces ferrosilicomanganese, an essential deoxidizer and alloy additive used in making steel. Notice of the closure has been given to employees, vendors and customers in an effort to make the transition as smooth as possible.
While no layoffs are expected during the first two months of closure in compliance with laws and ongoing maintenance activities, the company anticipates working with the appropriate state and union officials to facilitate unemployment and other related benefits for those employees impacted by the decision to keep the plant closed for a longer period of time.
"While it pains us to make this very difficult decision, after exploring a variety of options we concluded it is no longer economically viable to operate in the current market environment," said Mordechai "Motti" Korf, chief executive officer of Felman's parent company, Georgian American Alloys Inc. "This decision is in no way reflective of the skilled and dedicated workforce Felman employs, but rather the economic conditions that have severely hindered our ability to remain operational."
Felman was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in New Haven. Felman Production is a leading producer of high-quality ferrosilicomanganese, an essential deoxidizer and alloy additive used in the manufacturing of steel. The company produces approximately 105,000 metric tons of silicomanganese annually at its 190 plus acre facility.
Products are distributed to steelmakers across North and South America through its sister company Felman Trading Inc., an international ferroalloys trading company. Felman Production is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Miami-based Georgian American Alloys Inc.