The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has said that it will invest a total of 81.8 billion won ($75 million) in titanium for the next seven years.
The cash will also be injected into developing high-tech parts that are needed in aeroplanes and implants, the ministry said. The biggest goal will be to make the country self-sufficient in titanium production.
Titanium, first developed by the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is known for its high durability and resistance to corrosion, and is used across the board in various industries worldwide.
The ministry believes that titanium’s added value is 42 times that of steel, and 11 times that of aluminium. The global market for the material was worth 250 trillion won ($230 billion) in 2012, and this is forecast to grow to 600 trillion won ($550 billion) by 2020. South Korea, due to a lack of technology, has been paying up to 1 trillion won a year in royalties.
The first 9.5 billion won out of the 81.8 billion won budget will go into core-technology development and building production infrastructure.
“South Korea has a history of success in steel and chemicals,” said a ministry spokesperson.
“Due to the current slowdown in demand for steel and oversupply in China, we believe we need to act.”