Jasper — PotashCorp White Springs announced today that the second phase of layoffs at their Suwannee River Chemical Plant, which will be permanently closed, has been completed, according to Public Affairs Manager Mike Williams. A total of 56 employees, 45 wage and 11 salaried personnel, were notified personally by their supervisors or managers today that they were being laid off, which is 44 less people than what was initially predicted last December, Williams added.
Personnel impacted in this second round of layoffs are from the following counties: Hamilton, 11; Columbia, 18; Suwannee, 20; Madison, 1; Lafayette, 2; and Valdosta, Ga., 4. These employees will work through June and July and will be officially laid off in August with appropriate severance packages and job assistance programs.
Williams said the Hamilton County Commissioners were also personally notified today. An official announcement will be made at tomorrow's county commission meeting in Jasper.
“This is a difficult day for our employees, their families and our company,” said PotashCorp White Springs General Manager Bill Donohue. “These necessary changes do not reflect on the talents of people impacted by these decisions. We have an exceptional group of employees across the company, and these changes mean that we will lose a number of very capable and dedicated people who we sincerely thank for their contributions. We will do our best to assist those affected.”
On Dec. 3, 2013, PotashCorp announced company-wide operational and workforce changes at all of their facilities, including White Springs. The decision stemmed from a review of business and operational needs that affected all three segments (potash, nitrogen and phosphate) and the changes were undertaken to enhance the global competitive position of the company.
A press release at that time stated challenges in the global phosphate market and an increased regulatory burden were what made the move necessary and what forced the closing of the Suwannee River Chemical Plant. The new operating level is expected to extend the life of the existing phosphate rock mine by approximately five years. The Swift Creek Chemical complex, mine and mill will continue to operate and White Springs will maintain about 389 positions at the facility.