China’s Ministry of Commerce decided to impose export restrictions on gallium, citing national security concerns.
This decision could lead to gallium shortages, which could hamper many of the EU’s strategic industries. Gallium compounds are widely utilised in various industries, including semiconductors, LEDs, aerospace, and defence.
That’s why the EU has recognised gallium as a Critical Raw Material.
Gallium metal is primarily derived as a by-product of bauxite processing for aluminium production.
Today, it’s predominantly produced in China thanks to its significant investments in gallium extraction and processing infrastructure, supported by its expansive aluminium industry.
However, with the appropriate framework conditions and strategic investments, there is potential for European alumina refineries to resume gallium production and reduce our reliance on Chinese imports of this increasingly vital metal.
This situation underscores once more the strategic role played by aluminium in many critical industrial sectors and the need to boost European aluminium production.