The critical metal germanium was discovered near the town of Molaoi in southern Greece the precious and base metal exploration company Rockfire Resources PLC announced on Monday.
The London-listed metal-exploration company said the presence of germanium was discovered during laboratory reanalysis of historical samples at the Molaoi zinc deposit in Greece.
Critical minerals are metals deemed vital for world economies to continue to provide technology. The supply of germanium is largely at risk due to geological scarcity.
Shares in Rockfire Resources PLC rose in trading early on Tuesday after the announcement.
“This is an important discovery for the team at Molaoi. The economics and recovery of the germanium are yet to be determined…however, the grades returned from the laboratory in our resampling indicate the potential for valuable additional metals to be recovered in any future concentrate from Molaoi,” Chief Executive David Price said.
Germanium supply shortages
The European Union Environmental Agency includes germanium in the top twenty raw materials which have been identified by the European Commission as being critical metals, owing to the risk of supply shortages.
The weighted average grade of the 51 samples collected during the reanalysis of core from Molaoi is 51 grams per tonne (g/t) Ge with a peak value of 197 g/t Ge; 41 percent of samples returned germanium values above 50 g/t Ge, Rockfire Resources PLC said.
The germanium metal ingot price is currently at US $1,330 per kilogram (USD $1.3M per ton) which, if commercially recoverable in concentrate from Molaoi, would add material value to the overall financial metrics of the Molaoi Deposit, the company added.
Germanium is used in everyday technology
Germanium is used in the manufacture of everyday technology including mobile phones, electronics, solar cells, camera lenses, satellites, computer screens, as well as steering and parking sensors for vehicles. Germanium is also used in numerous military applications including weapons-sighters (scopes) and infrared night vision.
Price revealed that the company’s geologists elected to include the analysis for germanium based on a geological paper written in 2012, which suggested that Molaoi might be prospective for germanium.
“With the recent confirmation of high-grade zinc, lead, silver and the addition of germanium, Molaoi is shaping up to be a high-value deposit at a time when all these metals are increasing in demand against a backdrop of supply shortage,” the company’s Chief Executive added.