Gallium is a metallic element which is widely used in the electronics industry.
Gallium is a metallic element derived from the mining of other ores that is rare worldwide and in demand for its uses in the electronics industry. Gallium alloys well with other alloys, and is used in semi-conductors, military equipment and medical appliances. China is the global leader in gallium production. The most prominent ESG issue associated with the gallium supply chain is pollution, with various social issues being unreported.
Main Uses and Attributes
Gallium is a solid soft, silver metallic element with a low melting point and can be converted to liquid at near room temperature. Gallium can easily be alloyed with metals, particularly alloys with a low melting point. When alloyed with arsenic to produce gallium arsenide, it can convert electricity to light, making it widely used in the electronics industry.
About 95% of gallium is used to produce gallium arsenide, which is used in electronic circuits, semi-conductors and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). It has a similar structure to silicon and is an alternative to silicon in the electronics industry, especially as it produces less heat than silicon and can be used in supercomputers. The medical industry also makes use of gallium in high-temperature thermometers, barometers, pharmaceuticals and scans.
Gallium can also be combined with other materials to produce a special class of chips, referred to as “wide bandgap” semi-conductors, which can handle higher temperatures. These chips are more efficient and faster than others, and are being used in newer technology and renewable energy. More recently, gallium has been introduced in solar cell technology, leading to an increase in its demand. The United States uses gallium in the military supply chain and its defence systems. Presently, gallium has been mostly used in high-energy radars. Gallium-based semi-conductors are vital materials in the US’s defence industry; they are significant in missile defence, radar systems, electronic warfare and communications equipment.
Supply Chain Risk
TDi assesses Gallium for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.
Country Governance Risks
Gallium's association with countries experiencing:
Association with ESG issues
TDi Sustainability's data rates Gallium's association with the following issues as high or very high: