The first factory for Alalimat and titanium dioxide smelter metal is to be set up at the Jazan Economic City in the south of the Kingdom at a cost of SR 550 million. In its first stage, the factory will produce 500,000 tons of titanium dioxide and 250,000 tons of pure raw steel for local consumption.
"The factory will open next year, and it is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia," says Crystal CEO Talal Al-Shaer. "It will witness expansion in the future so as to increase its production capacity to 1 million tons making it very competitive on the world level to provide for the international shortage in titanium dioxide and provide for the local market for the first time." The factory will start operations by treating the raw titanium into quality dioxide reaching between 85 and 92 percent and used in paint, plastics, ink and rubber, he said, adding that the company is in the process of training Saudi cadres through an agreement with a London-based school for teaching English.
Al-Shaer said the Crystal company, which is specialized in the technology of pollutants from the atmosphere has an objective to train Saudi graduates and prepare them to work in the factory project, stating that he expects 312 positions will be available in the next five years and 75 percent of these will be filled by Saudis. Crystal managers will hold briefings in all of its operations around the world, he added.
Omar Al-Njjar, VP human resources, stated that the Crystal company is working to develop Saudi cadres through experts and technical staff as specified in the agreement. He added that this is important to show the work of Crystal in its American, European and Australian operations.
Al-Najjar said some foreign experts in the new factory in Jazan would train Saudi youths on the latest technology used by the company to build their capacities.
Demand for steel in the Saudi market has increased by 10 percent and it is expected to continue as a result of government spending. Domestic demand is around 7 million tons while local production is only 5 million tons.
With infrastructural projects set at $ 400 billion, there is constant demand for production capacity of energy, steel and cement to cater for the growth. Local steel production is put at 4.7 million annually.