Turkey held Saturday the groundbreaking ceremony for the country's first zinc ingot plant, which could potentially cut annual zinc imports by 40%.
Located in the southeastern province of Siirt, the $102-million facility has received joint investment from Turkey and Qatar. It will be the country's first zing ingot plant with high-quality production infrastructure.
Speaking at the ceremony, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said the plant will create means of adding value to Turkish raw materials, through investments in new technology, further advancing the economy.
The plant will have an initial annual production capacity of 30,000 tons which will be gradually increased to 90,000 tons annually.
The energy minister added that the plant would decrease Turkey's reliance on imported zinc ingots, It would make up for 40% of its zinc imports and save around $216 million annually upon reaching full capacity. The facility will also create 3,000 jobs in southeastern Hakkari and Siirt provinces, Dönmez said.
High-quality and exclusive high-quality zinc ingots made up 40% of Turkey's total zinc demand in 2018. The country had to import it entirely as the country had no facility with such production capabilities, Dönmez said.
For the same period, Turkey exported $465 million worth of zinc ore and imported zinc ingots worth $853 million, creating a trade deficit of $388 million. Dönmez said the new plant will be important in terms of decreasing the deficit by processing zinc ore inside Turkey.
The minister noted that the government was working with other mining industries, such as nickel and gold, to nurture manufacturing capabilities and develop processing technologies to process raw materials extracted in Turkey.
"We are opening a new page with the zinc ingot manufacturing plant and will increase the number of such facilities in the coming years."
Also speaking at the event, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said Turkish producers will be easily purchasing raw materials from the plant rather than importing them.
"Zinc ores extracted from mines in Hakkari will be processed into ingots in Siirt and will energize Turkish industries," he added.
Varank said the technology ministry remains committed to providing support to Turkish manufacturers through tax exemptions, customs duty exemption, tax deductions and insurance premium employer share support. The minister said they had issued 5,691 incentive certificates with a total investment amount of TL 136 billion last year.
"These projects are expected to create 210,000 jobs once they become fully operational," Varank said.
In December, the Turkish government launched the TL 400 million Regional Development Fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country that have the potential of becoming regional or global actors. The fund prioritizes certain sectors that have greater developmental importance and also has better employment opportunities.