Congo to benefit as China curbs germanium exports, State miner says

China’s curbs on exports of germanium products will lift prices of the semiconductor material, Congolese state miner Gecamines said on Wednesday, creating more value for Democratic Republic of Congo as it readies a new unit to produce it.

China on Monday announced export restrictions on some gallium and germanium products, citing national security interests, alarming international companies in the semiconductor and defense industries.

“We will produce germanium (to replace material) that’s unavailable for the market,” Gecamines’ chairperson Guy Robert Lukama told Reuters.

Congo, already the world’s top cobalt supplier and Africa’s biggest copper producer, plans to explore for minerals needed to facilitate the global transition to a low-carbon economy, including lithium, tin and rare earths.

The germanium and gallium export curbs from August 1 could potentially cause disruption to global supply chains, as China controls most production of the metals used in computer chips and other products.

Nyrstar, an international producer of minerals and metals, told Reuters it is considering germanium and gallium projects in Australia, Europe and the US.

North America’s biggest germanium producer, Canada’s Teck Resources, told Reuters in an emailed statement that the curbs on Chinese exports would not have any impact on its germanium production.


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