Russellville Graphite Plant Announces Temporary Closure

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RUSSELLVILLE (KFSM) — A graphite and carbon production plant has announced that it is scaling back its operations.

According to a release, Superior Graphite Co. has begun “temporarily idling production,” including making significant initial staff reductions.

The plant was acquired in 1985 by the graphite company, based in Chicago, to manufacture small diameter graphite electrodes, the Superior Graphite website stated.

Reasons given to begin the stopping of operations at the Russellville plant were: the continued depressed rates of steel production,  and low capacity utilization have created an environment such that we cannot effectively compete in these markets with these conditions, the release stated.

The company did state that pending a change in market conditions, it will make a determination whether to re-start operations.

An employee reached out to 5NEWS, stating that no notice was given to several employees called in to a meeting, and they were handed severance packets.

The employee stated that a special unemployment office was opened specifically to process the layoffs.

Dave Francis with Superior Graphite said that 42 employees lost their jobs with the staff reductions, and 28 will remain on staff.

When asked if the employees were given any kind of notice or warning sign that there could be layoffs, Francis said, “The warning signs has been out there for some time.”

Francis said in the late part of 2015, a small number of employees lost their jobs as well.

Superior Graphite was unavailable for comment.

The company operates out of 10 facilities, including facilities in China and Sweden.