(Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said it plans to invest $2 billion (1.33 billion pounds) to convert a failed sapphire glass plant in Arizona into a data centre.
Apple teamed up with GT Advanced Technologies Inc GTAT.O, to set up the plant in Mesa in 2013 to manufacture scratch-resistant sapphire screens for Apple devices.
But GT Advanced filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October and closed the plant, which was owned by Apple, after the company’s sapphire glass was left out of Apple’s newest iPhones.
“This multibillion-dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made,” Apple spokeswoman Rachel Wolf said in a statement on Monday.
The $2 billion investment will stretch over 10 years with a 30 year-commitment from Apple to keep the facility running, Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, said by email.
The facility will be a data centre as well as a command centre for managing Apple’s other data centres and networks, which handle traffic from services like iTunes, iCloud and Siri.
It is expected to create 600 engineering and construction jobs at the data centre, Apple said, adding that the plant would be powered mostly by solar energy.
As it wound down its sapphire production in October, GT Advanced said it was laying off about 650 employees at the plant.
Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru and Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jonathan Oatis