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RHI Monofrax is preparing to bring back 74 workers who were laid off from its Falconer plant, thanks to an influx of new work.

The workers are expected to return in the first week of June. The Chautauqua County facility makes fusion cast refractories primarily used in the glass industry. The Buffalo News in late March reported on the layoffs, which were attributed to a slowdown in business and the impact of foreign competition.

The U.S. Department of Energy has committed to awarding a $1.5 million contract to RHI Monofrax this summer. The company has also secured a private sector contract with a California company that is generating new work.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, had called for the Department of Energy to speed up its purchase of materials that RHI Monofrax makes for the federal government to clean up nuclear waste, to ease the financial strain on the company.

“I am disappointed it took as long as it did, but after almost a year of pushing, I am glad that the Department of Energy has finally committed to expediting another purchase of its glass contact refractory material from RHI Monofrax,” Schumer said in a statement.

Austria-based RHI acquired the Chautauqua County operation in 2007.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com