Local & Regional
12:11 pm
Mon June 22, 2009

Keep The Mill Open

Sand Springs, OK – Sen. Dan Newberry on Monday expressed concern regarding news of the possible closure of the Gerdau Ameristeel plant in Sand Springs.

Workers were notified last week that Gerdau Ameristeel had targeted the facility for possible closure within the year. Company officials cited the declining price of steel in announcing possible closures. Newberry said the mill is a vital cog in the area economy, and every solution for saving jobs must be examined.

"Since its opening, the mill has been a great corporate citizen in the community and a vital part of the local economy," said Newberry, R-Tulsa.

The Sand Springs plant employs approximately 150 area residents, after cutting 50 jobs in layoffs announced late last year. The facility was previously owned and operated by Sheffield Steel Corp., and was purchased by Brazil-based Gerdau in 2006. Gerdau last year announced first quarter losses of $32.7 million.

"State leaders must do everything in their power to protect these jobs," Newberry said. "We understand that market conditions have taken a toll on steel manufacturers, but closure of this facility would have a devastating effect on the community. I plan to continue talks with state leaders and company officials to see what we can do to retain as many jobs as possible."

The Sand Springs mill is the only operating steel mill remaining in the state of Oklahoma.