Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest non-oil and gas industrial company in the UAE, announced on Friday that it would build a solar-powered silicon metal manufacturing facility in the country in line with government’s ‘Operation 300bn and Make it in the Emirates’ agenda.

EGA’s press statement, quoting Chief Executive Officer Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, said the company could begin construction of a silicon metal plant as soon as next year.

Silicon metal is an essential raw material for foundry alloys, which accounts for roughly a quarter of EGA’s production.

In the absence of domestic capacity, EGA is dependent on imports to meets its annual demand of around 60,000 tonnes.

Kalban said: “Developing a silicon metal manufacturing facility would secure our supply of a strategic raw material. Once we have met our own demand we could expand further, creating a new growth opportunity for our company while supporting the development of new local industries in line with the goals of Operation 300bn and Make it in the Emirates, and the global energy transition.”

The statement noted high-purity silicon is used to manufacture solar photovoltaics and semiconductors, and its domestic production could catalyse the development of local solar photovoltaics manufacturing value chain.

Some 70 percent of the world’s silicon metal manufacturing capacity is located in China, the statement noted.

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)