GEORGETOWN, SC – August 12, 2008 – Officials with Santee Cooper, American Gypsum and Georgetown County today dedicated American Gypsum’s new wallboard plant built adjacent to Santee Cooper’s Winyah Generating Station.
“American Gypsum has a new appreciation for ‘Southern hospitality,’” said Steven R. Rowley, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Materials Inc., American Gypsum’s parent firm. “We are humbled by the magnitude of the efforts from the Georgetown, South Carolina community to encourage, welcome and help us construct and start up a modern gypsum wallboard plant.
“We greatly appreciate the support. We are also thankful for the opportunity to partner with Santee Cooper to create an essentially ‘green’ finished product at our Georgetown plant, which combines a byproduct of Santee Cooper scrubbers (synthetic gypsum) with 100 percent recycled paperboard from our Republic Paperboard Company. We are very pleased to be able to work together with the Georgetown community and Santee Cooper to manufacture a building product that benefits our environment, our economy and our communities.”
“The start-up process of a new wallboard facility can be very difficult and challenging,” said Steve Wentzel, plant manager. “Santee Cooper’s high-quality gypsum product and Georgetown County’s talented labor source allowed American Gypsum to have a safe and excellent start-up process that exceeded expectations. This is a project that we can all be proud of!”
O.L. Thompson, chairman of Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors, commended the efforts of a wide-ranging group of leaders who brought the plant from concept to completion. “I am proud to be a part of this unique venture,” he said. “It is the result of innovative vision and the dedication of everyone who worked to make that vision a reality.”
According to Santee Cooper President and Chief Executive Officer Lonnie Carter, “This dedication represents another indicator of sustainable economic development that helps diversify our coastal economy and respects our environment. That wallboard may look white, but believe me, it’s green through and through. This is a partnership that makes us all winners.”
American Gypsum has invested approximately $150 million in the facility since plans were unveiled in April 2005. The announcement was heralded as the largest economic development initiative since the steel mill came to Georgetown in the late 1960s. The environmentally friendly wallboard plant will produce approximately 750-million square feet of product annually. The project has created 84 direct jobs.
“American Gypsum is a godsend for many of us who are engaged in the various facets of economic development,” said Georgetown County Council Chairman Johnny Morant. “The wallboard produced through American Gypsum’s partnership with Santee Cooper will extend the use of our landfill, resulting in substantial savings to our citizens, while creating employment.”
The environmental aspects of this arrangement are significant. American Gypsum has entered into a long-term agreement with Santee Cooper to supply the facility with synthetic gypsum.
Santee Cooper’s coal-fired generating stations at Cross and Winyah produce a synthetic gypsum byproduct, the result of applying scrubbing technology to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. By utilizing Santee Cooper’s synthetic gypsum and excess steam in its wallboard production, the partners are converting waste into a valuable building product that would otherwise be landfilled.
The gypsum paper that American Gypsum uses is made from 100 percent recycled paper fiber, creating a finished product from essentially 100 percent recycled materials.
“This project has worked out to the mutual benefit of Winyah Station, Santee Cooper and American Gypsum in this unique public-private partnership,” said Mitch Mitchum, Winyah station manager.
American Gypsum, a subsidiary of Eagle Materials Inc. (NYSE: EXP and EXP.B), is the nation’s fifth-largest producer of gypsum wallboard used in residential and commercial construction. In addition to Georgetown, the Dallas, Texas-based firm has manufacturing facilities in Albuquerque and Bernalillo, N.M., Duke, Okla. and Gypsum, Colo. In-house accredited laboratories enable American Gypsum to ensure quality products that are readily accepted across the country. American Gypsum’s long-term commitment to quality materials, low-cost, up-to-date production facilities, efficient operations and strategic distribution ensures a dynamic and financially strong corporation that excels on a national level.
Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility and the state’s largest power producer, supplying electricity to more than 162,000 retail customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties, as well as 29 large industrial facilities, the cities of Bamberg and Georgetown, and the Charleston Air Force Base. Santee Cooper also generates the power distributed by the state’s 20 electric cooperatives to more than 685,000 customers in all 46 counties. Approximately 2 million South Carolinians receive their power directly or indirectly from Santee Cooper. The utility also provides water to 137,000 customers in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, and the town of Santee.