Sapphire of my eye, Apple expands manufacturing to Mesa with GT Advanced Technologies in $578M deal

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Commerce Authority announced today that Apple Inc. will open a manufacturing facility in the former First Solar facility to produce the sapphire materials in partnership with GT Advanced Technologies Inc. for Apples’ electronics.
GT Advanced Technology (GT) is known for innovative crystal growth equipment and solutions for the global solar, LED and electronics industries, According to GT, they have “entered into a multi-year supply agreement with Apple Inc. to provide sapphire material. GT will own and operate ASF® furnaces and related equipment to produce the material at an Apple facility in Arizona. Apple will provide GT with a prepayment of approximately $578 million. GT will reimburse Apple for the prepayment over five years, starting in 2015. Although the agreement does not guarantee volumes, it does require GT to maintain a minimum level of capacity.”
This deal means that Apple will bring 700 new permanent jobs and an additional 1,300 construction jobs to the Valley. According to reports, Apple also intends to run their facility on 100 percent renewable energy from day one!
“Apple is indisputably one of the world’s most innovative companies and I’m thrilled to welcome them to Arizona,” said Governor Brewer. “Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years.”
“It is a pleasure to welcome one of the most admired companies in the world to our great state,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Apple’s confidence in Arizona and its selection of Mesa as the site of its newest manufacturing facility represents an enormous win for our state and a historic investment in our community — one that will create hundreds of quality jobs for Arizonans.”
Currently Apple uses the sapphire glass as a protective cover for the iPhone 5S camera and home button but GT hopes to expand the usage of the material. According to GT, they have “accelerated the development of its next generation, large capacity ASF furnaces to deliver low cost, high volume manufacturing of sapphire material. These R&D efforts will support its non-LED initiative with its new customer and are expected to enable the expansion of GT’s LED, industrial and specialty sapphire businesses by positioning GT and its equipment customers as the industry’s lowest cost sapphire producers.”
Learn more about GT Advanced Technologies here.
Photo provided by Apple