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DuPont to shut down Kevlar plant in Goose Creek

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DuPont opened its Goose Creek Kevlar plant in 2010. The company said the growth in demand has made it necessary to consolidate Kevlar operations to its Richmond, Va., plant. (Photo/Andy Owens)

DuPont plans to close its Kevlar manufacturing plant in Berkeley County and relocate the operations to Richmond, Va., where the company runs a larger Kevlar facility, company spokesman Dan Turner said in an email.

DuPont said 113 employees will be laid off from the facility in the Bushy Park Industrial Complex in Goose Creek.

“The challenge is that we are at a point where capacity has exceeded demand for some time, and consolidation to redeploy resources as quickly as possible has led to making this difficult decision,” Turner said.

The plant opening in 2010 included several displays showing what Kevlar is and how it works. DuPont said it will close the facility in the Bushy Park Industrial Complex in June. (Photo/Andy Owens)DuPont will maintain its presence at the Cooper River site with its Hytrel manufacturing unit, which employs 50 people.

The Kevlar plant makes strong textiles used to create stab-resistant body armor for police officers and military personnel; reinforce oil and gas pipes; and strengthen buildings against hurricane and tornado damage, among other uses, according to the company’s website.

The company invested $500 million to open its Lowcountry Kevlar facility in 2011. At the time, DuPont said: “The new plant near Charleston, South Carolina, together with our other global assets, helps DuPont meet strong and growing global demand for Kevlar.”

The plant is scheduled to cease operations in June, with equipment decommissioning by the end of July. Equipment will be relocated to other sites, including Richmond and Ireland.

“While our other Kevlar manufacturing sites will absorb this production without any increase in staffing, there are numerous open positions at our largest Kevlar site in Richmond,” Turner said. “This site will absorb most of the Cooper River production.”

The laid-off employees will be eligible for positions at other DuPont locations. The company said it will work with employees to find jobs inside or outside of DuPont.

Berkeley County leaders also said they are working with the state Commerce Department to help affected workers find jobs.

“DuPont made a difficult decision to close its Berkeley County plant, and that move will have an impact on our community and particularly the workers who now face an uncertain future. ... As the unemployment rate in the county is the lowest it’s been in 15 years, we’re optimistic that the employees impacted by this plant closure will soon find job opportunities in the county,” Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler said in a news release from the county.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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