China imposes export controls on gallium and germanium related items, Pentagon plans to recycle gallium from waste

China announced in early July that in order to safeguard security and national interests, it will implement export controls on gallium and germanium-related items from August 1. Bloomberg reported on the 26th that when export restrictions are about to start, the Pentagon plans to sign the first gallium recovery contract to a US or Canadian company before the end of the year.

Gallium and germanium are key semiconductor materials, and China is a major producer of these two materials. After China announced export restrictions, the U.S. Pentagon said it had reserves of germanium, but not gallium. Bloomberg reported that Pentagon spokesman Jurgen Sen said in a statement that it plans to use its authority under the Defense Production Act to “prioritize” contracts by Dec. 31, focusing on existing scrap from other products. Gallium recovery in logistics.

The Pentagon said the proposed project is similar to the common reprocessing of tailings or refinery waste streams. “This recycling, rather than mining, is a way to make these materials easier and faster to come to the United States.” Still, there is no precedent for funding under the Defense Production Act to be awarded to mineral recycling projects.

Gallium is used in air and missile defense radars on Navy ships, and in ground-based radars used by the Army and Marine Corps to detect rockets, artillery, mortars, and more. Gallium and germanium are usually extracted in mining operations for other materials. But processing and refining them is expensive, so Western companies dispose of them as scrap while China increasingly dominates supply.

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