Cordero Gallium Project
north central Nevada, USA
World Consumption and Production
Gallium consumption surged after the development of LED technology in the late 1960's and has grown steadily since. Recently, rapid increases in telecommunication applications have led to significant increases in consumption, promising to outpace production. Year 2000 production of newly mined gallium is estimated at 130,000 kilograms, while total world consumption is nearly 200,000 kilograms. The shortfall is mostly being made up by sales from government stockpiles and the recycling of new (manufacturing) scrap. New scrap consists of substandard, defective or remnant pieces generated during normal manufacturing process. There is no post-consumer recycling of gallium due to the small amount of gallium typically contained in each application. Demand for gallium in Japan and the United States increased at an estimated 30% for 2000 and similar growth is projected for 2001. Demand is projected to grow at 20-50% over the next 5 to 7 years.
Dowa Mining of Japan, the only company to produce gallium from zinc sources has recently expanded its refining capacity. GEO Specialties has expanded its plant in Stade, Germany, and announced that the idle Pinjarra plant in Australia is scheduled to restart production in the second quarter of 2002 if sufficient feed is available.
Japan and the United States are the dominant world consumers of refined gallium. At present the United States has no domestic production of newly mined gallium.