Japan negotiates potential investment into Ukrainian titanium industry

News Analysis




Japan negotiates potential investment into Ukrainian titanium industry

Japan-based Toho Titanium, along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have hosted the Ukrainian Head of the State Property Fund to discuss the possibility of Japanese investment into the Ukrainian Titanium Industry. 

In February 2024, the Head of the Ukrainian State Property Fund Vitalii Koval visited Tokyo to meet with representatives of JICA and Toho Titanium in order to explore the possibility of Japanese investment into the titanium industry in Ukraine. Ukraine hosts a wealth of heavy mineral sand mines that supply raw material feedstock to the titanium industry, while the country also has its own titanium sponge producer, ZTMP. According to Vitalii Koval, the Ukrainian titanium industry requires investment along with experience and technological advancement to process titanium ores as a strategic move to protect it from Russia. In the past, Japan-based Toho Titanium has invested in other titanium operations, specifically that of its joint venture with Saudi Arabia in 2014 to develop a titanium sponge production plant in Yanbu.

Outside of China, Japan and Russia represent the largest titanium sponge producers, however, since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Russian sponge production has been diminished. This is driven by a lack of access to raw material feedstocks that it used to source from Ukraine. Furthermore, the Russian titanium industry is also a large-scale producer of aerospace-grade titanium, with companies like VSMPO-Avisma producing both sponge and metal that has been supplied to Airbus and Boeing. Given that titanium demand in the aerospace sector is set to more than double its 2023 volume by 2034, and the ongoing Russian-Ukraine conflict, this investment may have the potential to develop new supply chains of titanium. This will secure titanium alloys for the aerospace industry as air travel recovers beyond its 2018 peak towards the latter half of the decade.