Gallium is soft silvery metal and is liquid at room temperatures. During bauxite processing, caustic liquor is generated, gallium is extracted from this as a by-product in impure form. The impure form is further refined to get pure gallium known as 6N Gallium. In some cases it is recovered as by-product from zinc processing. It is generally used in compound form, either as gallium nitride (GaN) or gallium arsenide (GaAs). These two compounds accounts for the major consumption of gallium worldwide.
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The market for gallium was mainly driven by the growing demand from electronics sector. Gallium is used majorly in LEDs, solar panels and photo detectors among others. Gallium is used in various applications such as LEDs, laser diodes, integrated circuits and solar cells among others. In addition, it is also used in research and development for specialty alloys. The major opportunity for the market is the growing electronics industry in China and India. However, the volatile prices of gallium are likely to act as restraint for the market in near future. Moreover, there are numerous recycling issues associated with gallium compounds used in various electronic products.
In terms of demand, North America is the major leading region for the demand. The demand for gallium is huge owing to increased demand for electronic consumer goods, biomedical applications, and manufacturing of other alloys. North America was followed by Asia Pacific. In Asia Pacific, there is huge demand from semi-conductor industry and other applications. The demand is likely to grow in the near future for gallium in this region. European countries are expected to have stable demand for gallium. The Rest of the World market is anticipated to grow in near future owing to increasing demand for electronics goods.
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Some of the key providers in the gallium market are
- GEO Gallium,
- Aluminium Corp of China Ltd,
- Nalco among others.