Emirates Global Aluminium plans to develop a project to manufacture silicon metal in the UAE, securing supplies of a key raw material for premium aluminium and unlocking potential new industries in the UAE. Silicon metal is added to aluminium during the casting process, to create high-strength alloys required particularly in the automotive industry. Roughly a quarter of EGA’s production is foundry alloys, which are used to make vehicle parts.The UAE currently has no domestic silicon metal manufacturing capacity, and EGA is by far the largest importer of this material with an annual demand of around 60 thousand tonnes. Some 70% of the world’s silicon metal manufacturing capacity is located in China, with the electricity-intensive industry largely powered by coal.Silicon metal is also an essential raw material for other industries, including silicones which are used in everything from adhesives to contact lenses, and high-purity silicon which is used to manufacture solar photovoltaics and semiconductors. The UAE is expected to become a significant market for solar photovoltaics with its ambitious goals to expand solar power generation capacity, including to meet EGA’s demand for cleaner energy. Domestic supply of silicon metal could create the opportunity for a local solar photovoltaics manufacturing value chain to develop.