Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comBusinessScarce Metals Germanium and Gallium Confirmed in Greece

Scarce Metals Germanium and Gallium Confirmed in Greece

germanium gallium Greece
The precious metal germanium was discovered in Aouthern Greece. Credit:  JuriiCC BY 3.0/Wikipedia

The existence of deposits of scarce metals germanium and gallium in Greece was confirmed by exploration company Rockfire Resources last summer after its drill at Molaoi in the Peloponnese.

The London-listed metal exploration company says that the discovered high-grade germanium and elevated gallium are expected to add significant further value to its Molaoi project.

In a recent presentation to Greek Energy Ministry officials, Rockfire Resources managers said that they will conduct more exploratory drilling and, after summer, will begin their viability study of the discovered source. The Molaoi asset also contains silver.

Germanium and gallium are both included on the US and EU lists of critical minerals, owing to geological scarcity. Gallium is included on the UK list of critical minerals.

China has recently announced restrictions on the export supplies of both gallium and germanium products, citing national security reasons.

“The results are extremely pleasing and many of the samples which initially recorded values close to the lower level of detection returned strongly elevated germanium,” David Price, the Chief Executive Officer of Rockfire, said.

“The detection of gallium is a bonus and is expected to add further value to the Molaoi project economics,” he added.

High-grade germanium and elevated gallium discovered in Greece

The germanium metal ingot price is currently at $2,856.30 per kg whereas gallium is trading at $765.30 per kg.

Rockfire says it confirmed germanium grades between 9.0 and 40.0 grams per ton (g/t) with the highest individual germanium assay being 73.8 g/t.

Gallium grades between 9.7 and 19.0 g/t have been intersected with the highest individual gallium assay being 33.3g/t.

Germanium and gallium are used in everyday technology

Germanium is used in the manufacture of everyday technology, including cell 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.

Gallium arsenide has a similar structure to silicon and is a useful silicon substitute for the electronics industry. It is an important component of many semiconductors.

Any disruption in the supply of these metals would therefore unsettle downstream markets valued in the trillions of dollars.

Both gallium and germanium are classified as dispersed metals that occur in deficient concentrations in the Earth’s crust, rendering extraction highly uneconomical.

For instance, gallium primarily exists as a secondary element in bauxite ore, with its production primarily being a by-product of aluminum refining. Likewise, germanium rarely forms independent ores and is typically found within minerals composed of other elements.

EU approaches Greek company to produce gallium

The EU has urgently called on aluminum and zinc companies to investigate the production of key semiconductor metals following restrictions imposed by China.

It has approached Mytilineos Energy & Metals, a Greek aluminum producer, and asked it to explore the potential production of gallium as a byproduct. This would be done at its refinery in Agios Nikolaos on mainland Greece. There, the company converts bauxite into alumina, a starting material for aluminum.

“The EU has reached out to us with regards to evaluating how alumina refineries can contribute to a way out of this crisis,” Nick Keramidas, executive director of EU affairs at the company, told the Financial Times recently.

Mytilineos estimates that it could produce 40 to 45 metric tons of gallium annually, which would currently cover European demand.

According to official data, the EU sources 71 percent of its gallium and 45 percent of its germanium from China, but there are only a handful of companies outside of China capable of producing the high-purity metals needed in chipmaking, solar photovoltaic cells, and optical fibers.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts