However a downturn in the US economy saw parent company USG Corporation closing the mines and shiploading facility permanently in 2011. This was only ten years after the company celebrated is centennial in Hantsport with delivery of the state of the art ship Gypsum Centennial and a new high speed shiploader system.
Gypsum Centennial loading at the high speed loader in Hantsport in 2004.
With closure of the Hantsport operation, work had to be found elsewhere for the ships. It turned out to be in Sierra Leone where African Minerals Ltd is developing a new mining operation at Tonkolili to export iron ore to Shandong Iron and Steel Group in China. The mine is 200km inland, and is linked to the coast by a new railway, and a new port is under construction.In the meantime an older shallow water pier at Pepel is used to shuttle the ore to waiting Capesize bulkers at an anchorage off Tagrin Point.
Gypsum Centennial and Gypsum Integrity are the ships used for the shuttle work.
On November 11 Gypsum Centennial arrived in Falmouth, England for refit after three years in Sierra Leone. Needless to say, the crew is under watch for ebola.
When the Phase II port is completed the Capes will be load directly, and the two Gypsum boasts will no longer be needed.
Gypsum Centennial sailing from Hantsport for the first time.
US Gypsum also operates Little Narrows Gypsum or CGC Little Narrows in Cape Breton, and it is still operating. It ships gypsum and anhydrite to the Great Lakes and US east coast, but is closed due to ice for up to three months a year. [Anhydrite is essentially the same mineral as gypsum but with the absence of water.]