Cengiz starts cobalt production in Mazidagi
In another positive step toward reducing Turkey’s current account deficit, Cengiz Holding’s Eti Bakir has begun its cobalt production operations at its newly-built Mazidagi facilities. The $1.2 billion investment consists of 5 factories and 17 auxiliary facilities. Mehmet Cengiz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cengiz Holding, said that the company owed this investment to the east part of Turkey. Eti Bakir Mazidagi integrated facilities are expected to cut $620 million worth of imports.
Privatized in 2004 and bought by Cengiz Holding, Eti Bakir is the only company producing cathode copper from ore in Turkey. The cobalt facility adds to Eti Bakir’s Phosphate Facilities in Mardin, which was incorporated by Cengiz Holding in 2011. Operations at the Mazidagi facilities have been phased in quickly and are now almost fully operational with 20 of the 22 integrated sites online. It will be fully operational by the end of this year.
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Mardin Integrated facilities will produce cobalt, which is the primary element in batteries used for smart phones, tablets, computers and electric cars. Increasing global demand for electric vehicles and the fact companies that manufacture smart phones announced that they will invest in cobalt has increased the importance of the element. The value of cobalt, which stood around $75,000 per tonne, decreased by one percent last year with 110,000 tonnes extracted worldwide. The expansion of electric cars is expected to increase demand for cobalt to an annual total exceeding 120,000 tonnes.
The Eti Bakir Mazidagi facilities will be among the few cobalt producers in the world when full capacity production starts. Metal imports worth $270 million a year will be eliminated. As Turkey prepares to produce its own electric car, it will face no challenges in terms of battery production, the key component of any electric vehicle. Cobalt is also used in automobile airbags, steel-belted radial tires, windmill turbine blades, dental prosthetics and special steels. The fact that cobalt, which will be more important in the future, is produced in Turkey offers an important opportunity for the Turkish business world.
1,500 people will be employed directly during the operation phase of the Eti Bakir facility and 15,000 people will benefit from indirect job opportunities.