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Bahrain enters $27bn titanium market

Bahrain titanium Alamy/Yuliia Burlachenko
Global supply chains of titanium have been under pressure since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2020
  • Deal with Swiss company
  • Part of golden licence scheme
  • To serve medicine, aerospace and more

A $200 million manufacturing plant is planned in Bahrain to produce titanium products as part of the kingdom’s ambitions to expand its industrial sector.

Edamah, the real estate arm of the sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, has signed a 25-year lease agreement with Bahrain Titanium, a subsidiary of the Swiss company Interlink Metals & Chemicals, for a 50,000 square metre industrial plot at Askar.

The agreement comes after Interlink was awarded a “golden licence”, which fast-tracked the lease signing and land allocation.

The golden licence initiative is part of an economic recovery plan launched in October 2021 to boost growth and job creation.

Companies with investment and strategic projects that will create more than 500 jobs nationwide, or those with investment value exceeding $50 million, are eligible for the licence.

Interlink, one of the largest traders and suppliers of titanium in the world, said it chose Bahrain for its project because of its location and exporting capabilities. 

The facility will serve fast-growing industries such as medicine, aerospace, automotive and energy, helping to meet increasing global demand for titanium products.

Officials hope production will boost Bahrain’s exports to international markets.

China, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are among the world’s largest producers of titanium but global supply chains have been under pressure since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Yusuf Mansawala, chief market analyst at the multi-asset broker CPT Markets in Dubai, described Bahrain’s titanium production facility as an “intriguing opportunity”. 

“By expanding global processing capacity, this project has the potential to address the supply pressure and potentially help to stabilise titanium prices,” he told AGBI.

Mansawala said that global titanium demand is projected to grow by 5 to 7 percent annually over the next five years.

Titanium is increasingly used in everyday items such as bicycles and golf clubs, as well as in satellites and by the space industry.

The aerospace sector is a predominant force driving growth because of titanium’s combination of strength, light weight and resistance to corrosion. 

Edamah, part of the wealth fund Mumtalakat, has signed a 25-year lease agreement with Bahrain Titanium

During the first phase, Bahrain Titanium said, it will produce titanium slabs, ingots and alloys, with a capacity of 4,000 tonnes per year. This will be followed by a downstream expansion into forged bars and tubed titanium products.

Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “As an export-oriented project, this deepens Bahrain’s ties with key markets, serving as a gateway for leading players in the logistics and manufacturing industry.”

A report by marketing consultancy Precedence Statistics found the Middle East made up just three percent of the global titanium market in 2022. It said that the sector was worth nearly $27 billion last year and is predicted to grow to $47 billion within 10 years.

Statista estimates global reserves of titanium minerals at 700 million metric tonnes in 2022, with China a dominant player.

Bahrain’s industrial strategy aims to raise the sector’s contribution to overall GDP to $6.6 billion by 2026. It also targets $6.6 billion of exports by 2026, 80 percent of total exports.

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