Caterpillar Global Mining announced plans this week to close its Mount Sterling factory and lay off the site's 23 employees.
The company, a part of the huge Peoria, Ill.-based conglomerate Caterpillar, plans to close the plant by Feb. 9, according to a filing that government officials require before large layoffs or closings.
The site performs welding work primarily on dragline excavating machinery used in mining, said Caterpillar spokesman Rusty Dunn. The factory was formerly owned by Bucyrus International, a mining equipment company acquired by Caterpillar in 2011.
Dunn said the plant's closing comes as Caterpillar looks to integrate the work being done in multiple factories. Mount Sterling's work will be sent to plants in Florida and Texas, as well as to regional dealer facilities, he said, that are better situated geographically to customers.
"This is certainly not a negative reflection on the employees there," he said. "Mount Sterling has been a great community to us, but this is an action with the eye on the long term and really putting ourselves in the best position to work with our Caterpillar dealers."
He said the company is offering severance packages to the employees who will be laid off and also assisting with outplacement services.
"We're going to do everything we can to make sure we minimize the pain associated with this," he said.