Saudi Aramco inaugurates IKK Mateenbar, the Kingdom's First GFRP Rebar Production Facility

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  • Mateenbar™ is already manufactured in Gisborne, New Zealand and North Carolina, United States to serve these regions.
  • Saudi Aramco has approved the use of IKK Mateenbar’s glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) rebar technology in their infrastructure projects as a sustainable new corrosion-free material that could support the Kingdom in achieving its carbon neutrality targets.
  • The non-metallic GFRP rebar, produced at IKK Mateenbar’s 10,000m2 facility, is expected to reduce steel rebar consumption by approximately 50,000 tonnes per year.

Saudi Aramco’s Senior Vice President of Technical Services, Ahmad Al-Sa’adi, recently inaugurated the first fiberglass rebar facility in Saudi Arabia, IKK Mateenbar. The facility was established under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2019 by New Zealand’s Pultron Composites, and its partner, Isam Khairy Kabbani Group (IKK), with Saudi Aramco. The inauguration ceremony was held on June 23, 2021 in the presence of the New Zealand Embassy’s Chargée D'affaires, Ms. Louise Searle, and the Chairman of the National Industrial Committee of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh.

Pultron chairman, Dame Bronwen Holdsworth said the opening in Saudi Arabia showed that breakthrough technology could be developed in New Zealand’s regions and become a major contributor to more durable infrastructure worldwide.

The launch of this facility comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to attract and localize the rebar industry. This is also in line with efforts to achieve the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030, in terms of diversifying the national economy, promoting innovation in the Kingdom, and strengthening Saudi Arabia’s international relations.

Our technology solves the key problem of corrosion but also addresses many other limitations of conventional materials which presents a tremendous growth opportunity for Mateenbar™.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Al-Sa’adi explained, “Aramco has been developing and deploying non-metallic solutions within its own operations for more than 20 years. The use of non-metallic, advanced polymer materials has significant potential in multiple sectors. Moreover, technologies such as GFRP rebar, which mitigate corrosion and minimize life cycle cost, have potential to be the real game-changers for the building and construction sector in particular.”

Pultron CEO, Jasper Holdsworth states, “Pultron has a long and substantial history in pultrusion technology and its science. Our technology solves the key problem of corrosion but also addresses many other limitations of conventional materials which presents a tremendous growth opportunity for Mateenbar™. After a successful technology transfer of New Zealand technology, IKK Mateenbar has the required foundations to emerge as the regional industry leader in composite reinforcement, delivering longer-lasting infrastructure whilst leaving a legacy of low maintenance for future generations.”

IKK Mateenbar will manufacture and supply corrosion-free fiberglass rebar for infrastructure projects in the Kingdom, as well as the Middle East and North Africa region.

Saudi Aramco recently mandated the use of GFRP rebar in its engineering standards for reinforced concrete structures in highly corrosive environments, enabling designers to replace steel rebar in these high-risk areas. Extreme temperatures and high levels of salinity make the Kingdom one of the most corrosive environments for steel rebar, causing early structural damage, resulting in the nation’s economy incurring high costs to replace and maintain unstable concrete infrastructure.

It is noteworthy that Saudi Aramco was the first to deploy the innovative technology of IKK Mateenbar in the construction of its 23-kilometer-long and 80-meter-wide Jizan Flood Mitigation Channel, which is the largest GFRP rebar project in the world.