We produce high-purity chemical and metallurgical grade silicon metal in our Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama and Niagara Falls, New York US plants. Our Globe Metallurgical subsidiary is the largest producer of silicon metal in North America and as a group we are among the largest producers in the world.
Our silicon metal is used by the chemical industry in the production of silicone compounds and by aluminum manufacturers to improve the useful properties of aluminum, as well as in the manufacture of silicon wafers used in photovoltaic solar cells and electronic semiconductors. According to the metals industry research firm, CRU International, our US plants are among the most efficient producers of silicon metal in the world.
Silicone compounds are the main raw material for a large and growing number of industrial and consumer products, including silicone rubber parts, urethane foam, sealants, adhesives, lubricants, food additives, coatings, polishes and cosmetics. Silicones are substitutes in many applications for petroleum-based compounds and the demand for silicones benefits from higher oil prices.
Demand for aluminum has grown steadily in recent years, reflecting increased economic activity in both the developed and developing world, as well as new uses as a lighter, more economical replacement for other materials. Silicon metal consumption by aluminum manufacturers has grown accordingly.