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Gallium

Recovered as a by-product of bauxite and zinc mining, gallium is critical to advanced technologies such as lasers, LED lamps, solar panels, and next-generation microchips. Gallium is also used in a slew of high-performance electronics and for positron emission tomography (PET) scanning in the medical field. While current global gallium demand (~200 tonnes) is only two-thirds of global production capacity (~ 300 tonnes), demand for gallium is expected to grow rapidly through 2020 on the back of increased demand for next-generation smartphones, high-performance electronics, and other applications linked to GDP growth in developing economies. With technology developers using only 15% of gallium-bearing input material in the electronics they manufacture and sell, there is tremendous opportunity for process improvements to reduce the 85% of gallium-bearing material that becomes process scrap. Such improvements, combined with greater recycling efforts, can ease impending supply shortages of gallium through 2020, but with increases in primary gallium production being directly proportional to primary bauxite and zinc production, there is a high risk of supply disruption beyond 2018 should secondary supplies prove insufficient.

Current market trends and challenges:
 

    Growing demand for gallium-bearing smartphones

    Demand from applications linked to GDP growth

    Recovered as by-product of bauxite and zinc mining     Few prospects of expanding primary global supply

    Process improvements and recycling key to greater supply

High risk of supply disruptions beyond 2018 Home About Us Coverage Areas Our Research Consulting
 
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