The war between Europe and China over rare minerals used in cars could end in Greece.
Behind the headlines about the great dispute between Europe and China in the automotive industry – and not only – an even more relentless battle is unfolding in everything that has to do with some rare metals that are necessary for electronics and not only systems of all kinds.
One of these rare minerals is gallium, which has excellent properties that make it particularly attractive in producing all kinds of electronic systems but also in producing LED lighting fixtures used everywhere, even in cars.
It is a very special material with much better characteristics than silicon, which is its direct competitor. But it has the “disadvantage” that it is much rarer and, therefore, more expensive.
China, which processes 80% of the world’s gallium and 60% of its germanium, imposed restrictions on exports of the metals used in high-tech electronics in August, creating huge problems for major sectors of the industry.
The EU is looking for solutions to the problem and recently gathered potential suppliers to explore the potential for gallium production in Europe.
Greek energy and metals group Mytileneos, which was present at the meeting, said it has a pilot project to assess the most efficient way to mine gallium, which it could scale up in 18 months.
This could produce 40-45 metric tons of the metal per year, roughly equivalent to current EU demand.
Gallium is usually a byproduct of processing bauxite into alumina, a precursor to aluminum.
Chief executive Evangelos Mytilineos said a key requirement is to support the core aluminum business, which the industry says in Europe has been hit by high energy prices and is due to be levied on carbon dioxide emissions.
It remains to be seen whether this plan will go ahead, as gallium is a particularly critical material in many areas of modern industrial production. And obviously, it will be a project that will highlight our country as a crucial factor in the war between Europe and China.
Source : Greek News