Wie China die kritischen Roh­stoffe dominiert

Wir wissen es schon lange: China hat sich strategisch aufgestellt und faktisch ein Monopol bei wichtigen Rohstoffen aufgebaut. Der Telegraph erinnert:

  • Gallium tops the list of 50 critical minerals deemed vital for American national security and hi-tech production, and deemed most vulnerable to supply-risk by the US Geological Survey.There is no US national stockpile. The Pentagon has confessed that it has no military reserves. It seems that the bureaucratic system has only just woken up to the irreplaceable properties of this silvery trace metal in advanced weaponry and in the race for global dominance of electric vehicles, 5G & 6G wireless and power electronics.“ – bto: Das ist durchaus interessant. Dass ich es nicht wusste, erstaunt sicherlich nicht. Aber von den Militärs hätte ich das nicht erwartet.
  • The Chinese today produce 98pc of the world supply of primary gallium. The figure falls to 80pc for purified gallium used in industry, but you cannot reach that stage without access to the raw material. This is the metal that China has chosen to target along with its sister germanium, 31 and 32 respectively on Mendeleev’s periodic table. It won’t be the last.“ – bto: Und wir reden immer von „strategischer Unabhängigkeit“ mit Blick auf die sogenannten Erneuerbaren Energien…
  • The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington says China’s stranglehold is not a fluke or the outcome of normal market forces. The Communist Party compelled Chinese smelting companies to develop gallium refining capacity as a side-product of aluminium processing from bauxite. Chinese production rose 20-fold from 2005 to 2015, enabled by mercantilist subsidies through state-controlled banks and by a suppressed currency. This flooded the world market and wiped out competitors. China has since acquired near total control over the gallium supply chain and processing industry.“ – bto: Das war ein strategischer Entscheid von China – faktisch den Markt zu monopolisieren. Kann man auch langfristiges Denken nennen.
  • „It has now begun to close the trap. Restrictions on exports of gallium kicked in this month. This is the precursor to an embargo of unfriendly countries but not yet an actual embargo.(…)What we don’t know is whether this is merely a shot across the bow, retaliation for US restrictions on the sale of advanced semiconductors and the Dutch decision last month to restrict ASML sales of deep-ultraviolet lithography systems, or whether this has long been part of Xi Jinping’s game-plan for tech supremacy – laid out in Made in China 2025 and his strategy of ‚military-civil fusion‘.“ bto: Es klingt sehr nach langfristiger Strategie!
  • Gallium nitride has a uniquely-high ‚bandgap‘ of 3.4eV compared to 1.2eV for silicon transistors and fast electron mobility. This allows it to operate at lightning speed and at high voltage. This is gold dust in hi-tech warfare.‘Gallium nitride is revolutionising modern radar, allowing new radar modules to track smaller, faster and more numerous threats from nearly double the distance,‘ said CSIS. It keeps the West a step ahead of Russian hypersonic missiles and Chinese stealth fighters.“ – bto: Wenn dem so ist, verstehe ich nicht, wieso der Westen sich diese kritischen Rohstoffe nicht längst gesichert hat.
  • „Gallium technology makes it much cheaper to switch back and forth from DC to AC power, with sweeping implications for the efficiency of electric vehicles, solar panels, data centres or smart grids.(…) Claims that the world will need a massive and costly increase in electricity generation to replace fossil fuel energy invariably ignore how much is wasted today and how much can be saved by the magic of power electronics.“ – bto: Da bin ich angesichts des Optimismus klar dabei.
  • Gallium can be replaced by other minerals for some functions, usually at lower efficiency. Silicon carbide is a rival for the next wave of EV electronics. But a Western economy without gallium would be at a serious disadvantage.“ – bto: … was es umso unverständlicher macht, was hier passiert ist.
  • „The imperative is time. It takes several years to develop an alternative supply chain from dependable allies such as Australia, or from Sweden, or from zinc mines in Alaska; by then China might have stolen a decisive march in the escalating clean-tech war.“ – bto: Das leuchtet ein.
  • Auch sonst ist China wichtig: „It still has a commanding position, with 92pc control over minerals used for advanced magnets, but its overall share of processing for rare earths has dropped to 85pc, and its share of mine supply has dropped to 63pc. These minerals are not in fact rare and the liberal world is slowly responding.“ – bto: Es gibt Fortschritte, was sicherlich erfreulich ist. Aber in Summe ist es noch bedeutsam:

Quelle: The Telegraph

telegraph.co.uk: “China goes for the jugular on strategic minerals”, 9. August 2023