The company UKAD, the French Environment and Energy Agency (ADEME) and Crédit Agricole Centre France today inaugurated in Saint‐Georges-de‐Mons (Puy-de-Dôme) the EcoTitanium site, in the presence of Benjamin Griveaux, Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Christel Bories, Chairman and CEO of the ERAMET Group. The first European plant manufacturing aviation-grade titanium with recycled materials, EcoTitanium produces alloys from titanium offcuts and shavings collected from large aeronautics construction companies and their subcontractors. The inauguration ceremony saw the announcement of a EUR 30 million loan from the EIB – the EU bank – in support of this first aeronautics titanium plant in Europe. This loan is being granted under the Investment for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan.

First aeronautics titanium plant in Europe

EcoTitanium offers the aeronautics industry a new source of titanium supply that is completely independent of existing American and Russian suppliers.

The project required investment of EUR 48 million and will create at least 60 highly qualified direct jobs as well as induced jobs. It will therefore strengthen the metallurgical skills and employment hub of Combrailles in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.

At full capacity, EcoTitanium will produce several thousand tonnes of titanium alloy ingots each year to cater for the strong growth of titanium demand in the aeronautics market.

Titanium and titanium alloys present interesting properties for the industry: lightness (44% lighter than steel), excellent resistance to corrosion and advanced mechanical properties.

The inauguration of EcoTitanium marks the final stage in the launch of the first integrated aeronautics titanium plant in Europe.

Aubert & Duval, a subsidiary of the ERAMET Group, developed this facility in order to offer aeronautics customers a full range of services: extraction of ore and production of titanium at the UKTMP plant in Kazakhstan, forging of titanium ingots at the UKAD plant, matrixing of parts at the Aubert & Duval plant, finishing at the MKAD plant (joint venture with Mécachrome inaugurated in 2016) and recycling of offcuts and shavings at the EcoTitanium plant.

A sustainable development initiative

EcoTitanium will avoid the emission of 100 000 tonnes of CO2, consuming four times less energy than a traditional ore-based production plant. To support the construction of this environmentally responsible plant in Europe, the EIB granted a EUR 30 million loan to finance EcoTitanium.

The EUR 30 million EIB loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central plank of the Investment Plan for Europe, commonly known as the Juncker Plan. A joint initiative of the EIB Group and the European Commission, the Juncker Plan is designed to leverage private investment in high value-added projects and strategic sectors for the European Union such as innovation.

The EcoTitanium project received financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the General Commissariat for Regional Equality, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, the Council of the Puy-de-Dôme Department, the Loire-Brittany Water Agency and the Public Investment Bank (BPI).

“The EU bank is very pleased to be financing this pioneering project as part of our priority action in support of innovation, the circular economy and competitiveness in Europe" said Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. "This new Juncker Plan loan brings the number of operations approved in this framework in France to date to 89, representing total financing of a little over EUR 7 billion.”

Christel Bories, Chairman and CEO of ERAMET: “The ERAMET Group is proud to support the EcoTitanium project through the construction of a recycling plant by its subsidiary Aubert & Duval that will provide Europe with a titanium supply that is independent of the large global producers. EcoTitanium marks a new stage in ERAMET’s constant commitment to promoting industrial innovation but also social and environmental responsibility.”

Denis Hugelmann, Managing Director of ERAMET’s alloys division and Chairman of EcoTitanium: “I wish to thank our partners UKTMP, Crédit Agricole Centre France, ADEME and the European Investment Bank for their involvement in this pioneering project. With EcoTitanium, the ERAMET Group and its subsidiary Aubert & Duval are reaffirming their commitment to the Combrailles employment hub, which will benefit from the creation of some sixty direct jobs, strengthening its identity as a centre of industry.