WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Big Employer in Keokuk to Close

Dec 9, 2015

Nearly 200 people will soon be out of a job after the announcement Wednesday that Matrix Metals will close its Keokuk Steel Castings facility in early 2016.

"The decision to close the plant was caused by significantly decreased demand in the industries the facility serves, namely the oil and gas industries," Matrix Metals CEO Rob Kukowski said in a written statement.

"Capital expenditures in these industries have declined significantly over the past several years. Most notably, the oil and gas industries have experienced steep decreases in exploration and drilling due to the recent global decrease in energy prices."

Keokuk Steel Castings manufactures steel castings for use in valves, mining, drilling, transportation, the military, and other heavy industries. 

The company said it employed more than 500 people as recently as 2012, but three reductions in force over the last two years have the staffing level at 192.

Kukowski said employees will continue to fill open and existing orders until the closure becomes official.

Keokuk Steel Castings has operated in Keokuk for roughly 80 years, including the last 37 at its location along Main Street.