Work on the execution of the silicon production complex has started in New Alamein. The announcement was made by Tarek al-Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources on 8 May during the meeting of the founding assembly of Alamein Company for Silicon Products at the headquarters of the Ministry of Petroleum.
New Alamein City is a 4th Generation city in construction on Egypt’s North Coast, some 105km west of Alexandria. The area affiliated to it extends 70km south from the Mediterranean till Qattara Depression in the Western Desert. Besides including a spectacular tourist resort, the city can potentially accommodate some three million people in 40 years, offering them housing and top class education. New Alamein will also include a number of global projects, businesses and international trade centres.
According to Mr Molla, the silicon production project is among the most important national and strategic projects in the mineral resources sector, and is likely to achieve great economic benefits. He believes that this is a perfect opportunity for partnership between the State and the private sector in venturing into new industries that would make benefit of Egypt’s mineral resources through national investments. Exporting processed silicon, the Minister said, is more lucrative than exporting the raw material, given the added value from production.
The shareholders of the project include from the State side, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, represented by three of its companies; and the Ministry of Public Business Sector represented by two of its companies. These State entities are partnering with the Egyptian Business Development Association (EBDAA) which is one of the largest companies working in the field of management of industrial development projects in Egypt; Libra Capital, a finance facilitation and projects’ support company; and the Central Desert Mining Company, which is an Egyptian private sector mining company established in 1974.
During the founding assembly meeting of Alamein Company for Silicon Products, Amgad Kamel was elected as its President.
Mr Kamel said that the new silicon production complex will stand over 200 feddans of land owned by the Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company, in New Alamein. The project, Mr Kamel explained, aims to provide a locally made product of silicon and its derivatives instead of importing it.
There are four phases to the project, Mr Kamel said. The first involves producing metallic silicon using ultra-pure Egyptian quartz, at a production capacity of 45,000 tons of metallic silicon annually, and at an investment cost estimated at USD172 million. A detailed feasibility study has already been done for this phase which is expected to cater for the market needs of many industries, and to export excess production.
In the second phase, a project to produce intermediate silicon derivatives used in the production of insulating materials, building and construction materials, rubber, medical uses and paper, is planned. The initial production capacity expected ranges between 60,000 and 100,000 tons annually, depending on the availability of the raw material.
The third phase aims to establish a factory for the production of polysilicon with an initial production capacity of 10,000 tons annually. Polysilicon is used in the electronics and the solar cell industries.
The fourth phase will involve the establishment of a complex for small and medium industries that would produce final products instead of importing them from abroad, such as insulating materials, adhesives, binders and rubber.
The project is expected to run on sources of renewable energy including solar energy. It will use the EPC Financing system to procure the financing necessary for its implementation in a way that does not burden shareholders. EPC stands for Energy Performance Contract which is a form of creative financing for capital improvement that allows funding energy upgrades from cost reductions.
Experts believe that the Silicon Complex project has all the ingredients of success, especially given the availability of raw materials, infrastructure and sources of renewable energy. Silicon products are in high demand both on the local and foreign markets. Adding value to the silicon products throughout the production stages is significant; according to experts, one ton of metallic silicon is sold for USD340, versus USD15 for the quartz as raw material.
9 May 2023
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