Apple to expand US production effort with Arizona sapphire glass plant

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The State of Arizona, materials and equipment supplier GT Advanced Technologies and Apple confirmed that the Cupertino company is planning to setup a sapphire glass production facility in Mesa, AZ.

NH-based GT Advanced Technologies confirmed the deal on Monday as part of its Q3 2013 earnings report. The company announced it had signed a multi-year supply deal with Apple that’ll provide sapphire material to the Cupertino company.

“We are very excited about this agreement with Apple as it represents a significant milestone in GT’s long term diversification strategy,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT’s president and chief executive officer.

Apple will provide GT with a $578 million prepayment to install and operate equipment, like ASF furnaces, that are needed to produce sapphire glass. GT will pay back this money over five years, starting in 2015. This equipment will be installed in a Mesa, Arizona facility that Apple allegedly purchased from First Solar, says a report in Phoenix Business Report.

GT and Apple will initially employ 700 employees, but that number is expected to grow to 2,000. Apple confirmed to Pocket Lint that the company is expanding to Arizona and is working on a  facility that will be powered by 100% renewable energy from the moment it opens.

“We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction. This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100% renewable energy from day one, as a result of the work we are doing with SRP to create green energy sources to power the facility.”

Apple uses sapphire glass as a covering to protect the camera on the iPhone and to cover the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s.

[Via MacRumors]