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Thursday, 20 October 2022

Last Night’s Talk Shows: Our first black sand plant

All eyes were on the Hassan Allam-built black sand plant last night. The talking heads gave most of their attention to the inauguration of the black sand plant near Burullus in Kafr El Sheikh. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was present for the opening.

Our friends at Hassan Allam Construction carried out the engineering and construction and contributed to the design of the plant, which the company built in a record 12 months, according to a statement (pdf) from the company. Hassan Allam landed the contract for the project from the military-affiliated National Service Products Organization’s Egyptian Black Sand Company back in 2020.

WHY IT MATTERS- Black sand has major export value “because it is of wide use in different strategic technologies like semiconductors, nuclear radiation material, vehicle frames, pharma, electronics, paints, and oil pipelines,” head of the House's Industrial Committee Moataz Mahmoud told reporters yesterday. Hassan Allam Holding CEO Hassan Allam noted that the project would both cover domestic needs and open doors to export sales.

How it works: The plant’s floating concentration station mines and dredges beach sand for ore, which is then transported for separation into rare minerals zircon, magnetite, ilmenite, rutile, garnet, and monazite.

SOUND SMART- Black sand is not sand at all — it’s an accumulation of heavy minerals, many of which have applications in industries from steel to paint, ceramics, textiles, paper, plastics, food, and renewable energy. It also looks really cool.

Our black sand reserves could last us some 200 years, Nuclear Power Plants Authority chief Hamed Mira told Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 21:56), adding that some of the minerals to be extracted can sell for up to USD 3.2k a ton. The project will also play a part in the development of the Kafr El Sheikh city of Baltim and rid Egyptian coasts of harmful minerals, Mira said.

President El Sisi called on investors to amp up their involvement in black sand projects, either alone or through private-public partnerships, according to Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 4:38). The country might need up to four more black sand plants, Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan said. Opening up more plants will create jobs and tap the state’s natural resources, Senate member Mahmoud Al Kott told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 9:05).

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