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25/04/2024
Mining News

Unlocking Greece’s mineral wealth: Discovery of germanium and gallium deposits signals economic opportunity

Exploration company Rockfire Resources made headlines last summer with the confirmation of deposits of scarce metals, germanium, and gallium, in Greece. Located at Molaoi in the Peloponnese region, the drilling conducted by this London-listed company unearthed high-grade germanium and elevated gallium, significantly boosting the value of its Molaoi project.

In a recent presentation to officials from the Greek Energy Ministry, Rockfire Resources outlined plans for further exploratory drilling and a viability study on the newfound resource, slated to commence post-summer. Notably, silver is also present in the Molaoi asset.

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Both germanium and gallium hold critical status on US and EU mineral lists due to their geological scarcity, with gallium featuring on the UK’s list as well. Recent export restrictions announced by China, citing national security reasons, have underscored the global significance of these metals.

David Price, CEO of Rockfire Resources, expressed delight at the findings, highlighting the robust germanium results and the unexpected presence of gallium. The latter is anticipated to enhance the project’s economic prospects.

Germanium, priced at $2,856.30 per kg for metal ingots, demonstrated grades ranging between 9.0 and 40.0 grams per ton (g/t), with individual assays peaking at 73.8 g/t. Gallium, currently trading at $765.30 per kg, exhibited grades between 9.7 and 19.0 g/t, with the highest assay recorded at 33.3 g/t.

These metals play pivotal roles in modern technology, finding applications in electronics, solar cells, semiconductors, and military equipment. With the global supply chain for germanium and gallium vulnerable to disruption due to their scarcity, the discovery in Greece presents a significant development.

Meanwhile, the European Union is actively seeking alternatives to Chinese supply, particularly urging aluminum and zinc companies to explore gallium production. Mytilineos Energy & Metals, a Greek aluminum producer, has been approached for potential gallium production at its Agios Nikolaos refinery. This initiative aims to reduce reliance on Chinese sources, which currently supply the majority of gallium and germanium to the EU.

Overall, the confirmation of germanium and gallium deposits in Greece marks a milestone in the country’s mineral exploration landscape, with potential implications for global supply chains and economic dynamics.

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