PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - WLOX News is following a new development at Mississippi Phosphates. Managers at the Jackson County plant say they'll no longer produce Diammonium Phosphate. And when they shut down that part of the plant, jobs will be eliminated.
A news release sent out Friday by Mississippi Phosphates says workforce reductions will begin over the next two weeks. WLOX News has learned from a company spokesman up to 175 jobs will be lost. Plant managers say they'll keep 50 employees on the payroll to perform what are considered core operations.
"It's a sad day for the employees and for the county. We were hoping for the best. We will continue to hope that something will be worked out for the company. As for the property site, we're not sure about the status or what will happen to it," said Jackson County District 2 Supervisor Melton Harris. "It's close to the holidays, and I know this is never a good time for layoffs. We wish and pray for the very best for the families of the employees. Our thoughts are with them at this time."
Mississippi Phosphates managers held workforce transition meetings earlier this week with employees impacted by this decision to mothball the DAP production.
In late October, Mississippi Phosphates filed for bankruptcy protection. According to CEO Steve Russo, "The company will continue with other aspects of its core operations, including ammonia terminaling operations, maintenance, security and environmental controls. At this time, we do not know when DAP production might resume. The company is actively seeking buyers for its assets while we continue to move forward with other elements of our bankruptcy case."
DAP is the most common form of phosphate fertilizer for all major row crops.