, Saudi Arabia
- March 9, 2009:
Ahmad H. Algosaibi & Brothers of Saudi Arabia, Washington Mills Management Inc. of the U.S.A., and Sumitomo Corporation Inc. of Japan announced today that they have entered into a ‘Memorandum of Understanding,’ (MOU) under which they will form a joint venture to construct and operate a new plant for manufacturing silicon carbide in Saudi Arabia.
The plant will have an initial production capacity of 24,000 metric tons per year of high-quality silicon carbide. The plant will be located in Jubail Industrial Park, Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the MOU, the parties will proceed with a feasibility study, and seek various Saudi Government approvals and permits. Production start-up expected in early 2011.
Silicon carbide is a hard material, with high thermal conductivity and thermal shock resistance. Demand for silicon carbide has burgeoned in recent years as it has been in demand for diesel particulate filters and for the slicing of silicon wafers for the photovoltaic industry. Silicon carbide products are widely used and found in many other diverse industrial applications such as Abrasive machining, wire sawing, grinding and sand blasting, and in the manufacturing process of semiconductors, power lighting, switching and diodes. Further uses include the production of technical ceramics, cutting tools, and in iron and steel making.
Announcing the signing of the MOU, Saud Algosaibi, Managing Director of Ahmad H. Algosaibi and Brothers commented: “silicon carbide is a highly added value project to the Saudi Arabian economy and its industrial landscape. It will enhance local manufacturing diversity and promote newer industries and expand exports.” He further added: “our partners in the Silicon Carbide Joint Venture are highly valued and regarded in the industry and well known for their achievements and capabilities.”
Rei Ito, General Manager of Sumitomo’s Industrial Performance Materials Department, added: “Currently, there is a worldwide shortage of first quality silicon carbide, particularly in the Asian markets. We believe that a Saudi plant will enable us to serve this fast growing market.”
Peter H. Williams, President of Washington Mills commented: “we are excited about partnering with AlGosaibi and Sumitomo on this project. The combination of AlGosaibi’s expertise in doing business in Saudi Arabia, Sumitomo’s marketing strength, and our knowledge about Silicon Carbide shall be a great added value to this project.”