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Gallium

Summary

Gallium is a metal.

Application

It is used in light emitting diodes as gallium arsenide and phosphide, and in visible diode lasers (potential).

It can also be used in thermometers and dental amalgams as a replacement for mercury.

Demand

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Price

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Trade

Imports

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Exports

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Production

World production of gallium is around 100 tonnes per year.

Rhodia Pinjarra (formerly Rhone-Poulenc)

The company operated a 50 million dollar facility which used liquor produced as a by-product of Alcoa's Pinjarra alumina refinery established in 1989.

Production capacity was about 30 tonnes per year as gallium (ie. one-third of then world demand of 90 tonnes per year).

The liquor was pumped from the refinery, 5km to south, to the facility and returned after processing.

The gallium was extracted as a 15 per cent solution of gallium chloride (200 grams of gallium per litre of ...more coming soon...). 

In total, a small proportion of the gallium contained in liquor produced as a by-product of alumina production in Western Australia was extracted.

The gallium chloride was exported to Salindres in France where gallium was extracted.

Technology

To get to 15 per cent solution of gallium chloride:

- The manufacturing process involved a series of steps including extraction using organic solvents in counter-current contactors and further extraction using ion exchange resins in beds.

To get to gallium:

- ...more coming soon...

Raw Materials

 To get to 15 per cent solution of gallium chloride:

- liquor as a by-product of alumina production

- organic solvents

To get to gallium:

- 15 per cent solution of gallium chloride