The groundbreaking ceremony of Turkey's boron carbide plant was held Balikesir, in the Marmara region attended by Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Donmez on Friday.
Donmez said the new plant marks Turkey's first step in the production of technologically advanced boron while further enhancing the country's potential in the energy market beyond merely a transit country.
According to Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, the country has a total of 3.3 billion tons of boron, equating to 73% of the world's total reserves, which puts Turkey as the world's number one country holding the biggest boron reserves.
Boron products consumption globally has reached nearly 4 million tons and Turkey met approximately 59% of world boron demand in 2018. Turkey's refined boron production capacity is 2.7 million tons.
Boron carbide will be used intensively in military tactical vehicles with high endurance and strength density ratio, helicopters, as well as in military equipment in low density and high heat resistance appliances such as steel armor, and clothing like protective vests, all of which Donmez said would expand national defense manufacturing.
'We will also use it for nuclear applications,' he added.
'This plant will provide the most important support to national energy and national defense,' Donmez noted.
The plant has seen an investment of $70 million and with the addition of energy production facilities it will total more than $80 million, Donmez said.
Plant completion is expected in less than two years and the facility will employ about 250 people in Balikesir, where it will elevate the region as a key boron manufacturing market, he said.
He stressed that Turkey is just starting boron's 'implementation phase'.
During the first six months of 2019, the production volumes of refined boron products realized 1,018 million tons. In 2018, almost 2.4 million tons of boron were sold exceeding revenue of $1,013 billion.
US$1 equals 5.77 Turkish liras
By Murat Temizer