PABCO Gypsum Storage Dome

Evening photo of PABCO storage in operation.

The PABCO Gypsum storage dome near Las Vegas, Nevada, can store 50,000 tons of raw gypsum—almost one million cubic feet of material. Gypsum is loaded via conveyor (right) into the top of the dome and it is unloaded via a conveyor in a tunnel (left) underneath the dome.


PABCO Gypsum is a vertically integrated mining and manufacturing plant of gypsum board—also known as wallboard, drywall, Sheetrock—east of Las Vegas, Nevada. The 4,000 acre (16.2 km²) complex includes the gypsum mine, ore processing, and the gypsum board manufacturing plant. PABCO Gypsum produces 110 million square meters of gypsum board annually—enough to build 120,000 new homes.

South Industries constructed a 215-foot (65.5 m) diameter by 77-foot (23.5 m) tall gypsum storage dome for PABCO Gypsum. It will store 50,000 tons (45,360 t) of raw gypsum—almost one million cubic feet (28,300 m³). Product fills the low profile dome via a conveyor from ore processing. Gypsum is lifted to the head-house atop the dome and poured into the dome as a large, cone-shaped pile.

A 219-foot (66.7 m) long tunnel runs underneath the dome with four, 4-foot by 4-foot (1.2 m by 1.2 m) hatched openings under the pile. Product will flow down, through the hatchways, onto a conveyor which carries the product to the manufacturing plant. South Industries constructed the 13-foot (4 m) wide tunnel using a tube-like Airform and spray-in-place construction techniques similar to building the dome.

Original steel dome used as movie set.

The Monolithic Dome replaced this original steel dome used as a set for James Bond to escape in a moon buggy in Diamonds Are Forever.

United Artists

The Monolithic Dome replaced the steel dome built in the 1960s for the Johns Manville company. PABCO Gypsum purchased Johns Manville in 1977 and the steel dome stored gypsum until recently as time and corrosion took it’s toll on the structure.

The gypsum plant and steel dome famously starred as the missile complex and fake moon landing set in the 1972 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever.