Hodgdon Powder Company announced it would cease manufacturing operations at the GOEX blackpowder manufacturing facility in Camp Minden, La., effective immediately. The closure eliminates the only domestic source of blackpowder in the United States. According to a company press release, Hodgdon will evaluate "strategic options for the blackpowder business," including a potential sale of the company.
The Camp Minden facility will wind down operations during the evaluation process. All affected employees will be retained through Dec. 31, 2021, to assist during the closure of the facility and will receive severance commensurate with their years of service. "The Hodgdon Powder Co., Inc has been honored to have been a part of the GOEX Powder legacy and sustains a fond appreciation for sporting customers who have enjoyed shooting GOEX Powders," the release reads.
GOEX Powder has a long, storied history that starts in 1802 with the building of a blackpowder plant on the Brandywine River in Delaware by E.I. Du Pont de Nemours. Production expanded with the building of the Belin plant in Moosic, Penn., in 1912, and the facility supplied military blackpowder during both world wars, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars. In the 1970s, the Belin plant was incorporated into the GOEX family, and production moved to Minden, La., in 1997. On Jan. 1, 2009, GOEX was purchased by Hodgdon Powder Company, which touted its philosophy of, "We are here today. We were here yesterday. We will be here tomorrow." Hodgdon spent years updating equipment at the Minden facility, enhancing employee safety and blackpowder quality.
Despite Hodgdon's efforts, the GOEX facility at Camp Minden has a history of manufacturing incidents stretching back to 1998, including a June 2011 incident where 1,000 lbs. of blackpowder exploded. The latest incident at GOEX occurred on June 18, 2021, when an explosion required the evacuation of 15 employees inside the facility. Nobody was injured, but the plant observed a 24- to 48-hour waiting period to ensure that nothing else at the facility ignited.