Apple to open Arizona plant in a boost for US workers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 4:54am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 4:54am

Apple said it is opening a new plant in Mesa in Arizona that will create 2,000 jobs to make components for its products, part of a push by the world's most valuable company to boost manufacturing in the United States.

Apple would pay US$578 million to GT Advanced Technologies to supply equipment for the facility, GT Advanced said in a statement.

The machines make materials out of sapphire, which is increasingly used in smartphones to cover camera lenses and home buttons.

After years of outsourcing much of its manufacturing to Chinese suppliers such as Foxconn Technology Group and facing criticism from labour groups and politicians for the practice, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has made adding jobs in the US a priority.

The Cupertino, California-based company will next month release a new Mac Pro assembled in the US.

"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," said Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple.

"This new plant will make components for Apple products and it will run on 100 per cent renewable energy from day one."

Apple did not specify what products the plant would make parts for.

GT Advanced, based in New Hampshire, said it had a multi-year agreement with Apple to provide furnaces used to make sapphire material. Apple is prepaying US$578 million, which GT Advanced said it would reimburse over five years starting in 2015. Apple will receive some exclusivity rights from GT Advanced.