ISTANBUL, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkey is preparing to strengthen its national defense industry through a boron carbide plant to be built by a Chinese company and operational in 2021 in the northwestern province of Balikesir, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez said Friday.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the plant, undertaken by China Machinery Engineering Corporation, was held in the district of Bandirma.
Speaking at the ceremony, Donmez said the plant would make Turkey's defense sector more "powerful, dynamic and active" by increasing the ratio of the production of domestic goods.
"We will be able to use boron carbide in the production of military equipment, such as steel shells, protective vests, helicopters and tanks which require high hardness and strength," said the minister.
He said Turkey has a total of 3.3 billion tons of boron, accounting for 73 percent of the world reserves and 59 percent of the world market.
"However, it doesn't matter how much resources and reserves you have," he added. "The important thing is whether we can process them and create a surplus-value."
The facility is scheduled to be completed in 24 months at a total cost of 70 million U.S. dollars, according to the minister.
China Machinery Engineering Corporation and the TRBOR Boron Technologies Inc of Turkey signed a deal on the plant in June, which shall have an annual production capacity of 1,500 tons of boron carbide, one of the hardest synthetic substances known.