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China’s Export Curbs on Critical Minerals: A Boon for these ASX Mineral Explorers

Skrill Network

By Skrill NetworkPublished 4 days ago 3 min read

Key Highlights

China's Strategic Export Restrictions: Beijing restricts exports of gallium and germanium, crucial for semiconductor production.

ASX Companies Set to Gain: Australian companies like Mt Burgess Mining and Golden Deeps may benefit from the scarcity.

U.S. Response and Strategic Moves: The U.S. Plans to bolster domestic production and reduce dependency on Chinese minerals.

Tech War Implications: The ongoing tech war between the U.S. and China intensifies, impacting global semiconductor supply chains.

China's decision to limit the export of gallium and germanium is a strategic move aimed at leveraging its dominance in the global supply of these critical minerals. Both metals are essential for the production of semiconductors, which power everything from smartphones to advanced military equipment. By imposing these restrictions, China aims to preserve national security by ensuring these materials are available for domestic use in critical industries. Additionally, this move counters U.S. tech hegemony in response to similar restrictions imposed by the U.S. and its allies on high-tech exports to China. It also strengthens China's bargaining power in ongoing trade disputes with Western nations.

Former Vice Commerce Minister Wei Jianguo emphasized the strategic nature of these controls, describing them as a "well-thought-out heavy punch" and "just a start." He warned that "if restrictions targeting China's high-technology sector continue then countermeasures will escalate."

Several Australian companies listed on the ASX are positioned to benefit from China's export curbs, as they hold potential reserves of gallium and germanium. Mt Burgess Mining (ASX: MTB) has the Kihabe-Nxuu project in Botswana, rich in these minerals, with significant inferred resources awaiting further exploration and development. Golden Deeps (ASX: GED), located in Namibia, has shown high-grade gallium and germanium in drill cores at its Nosib project, offering promising prospects. Battery Age Minerals (ASX: BM8) owns the Bleiberg project in Austria, historically a major producer of germanium, which could see a resurgence in light of the new restrictions. These companies are now revisiting old data and ramping up exploration activities to capitalize on the increased demand and higher prices for these critical minerals.

The United States, heavily reliant on imports for its semiconductor industry, is taking strategic steps to mitigate the impact of China's export curbs. Boosting domestic production is a key initiative, exemplified by the Nyrstar project in Tennessee, which aims to recover gallium and germanium from zinc smelting operations. This project alone could meet up to 80% of the U.S. demand for these metals. Additionally, the U.S. is diversifying supply chains by exploring partnerships with allies like Canada and Australia to secure alternative sources of critical minerals. The U.S. government is also providing policy incentives for domestic production and processing of these materials to reduce dependency on foreign imports.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, ahead of her visit to China, highlighted the importance of maintaining economic ties, stating, "I think we gain and China gains from trade and investment that is as open as possible and it would be disastrous for us to attempt to decouple from China."

The escalating trade war between China and the U.S. over critical tech resources has far-reaching implications. Global supply chain disruptions are likely, as China controls a significant portion of the world's supply of gallium and germanium, and any export restrictions can lead to shortages and increased prices globally. Semiconductor manufacturers may face higher costs, which could translate into more expensive consumer electronics and other products. The tit-for-tat measures between the U.S. and China are pushing both nations to develop self-sufficient supply chains, potentially leading to a bifurcated global tech industry. Countries and companies may start stockpiling critical minerals, further driving up prices and intensifying the scramble for resources.

China's recent export restrictions on gallium and germanium mark a significant escalation in the ongoing tech war with the United States. These critical minerals, essential for semiconductor production, are now at the heart of a broader geopolitical struggle. While ASX-listed companies stand to gain from this shift, the global tech industry faces a period of uncertainty and increased costs. As both superpowers vie for technological supremacy, the world watches closely, bracing for the next move in this high-stakes game of economic chess.

Read more updates on Technology News -


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