American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Blog

  • HOMEPAGE >> BLOG >> Critical Minerals Alaska – A Look at Germanium

Critical Minerals Alaska – A Look at Germanium

In the twelfth and final installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of 60 Mining News, Shane Lasley takes a look at Germanium – a lesser known yet vital ingredient in fiber optic cables and high-efficiency solar cells. 

Followers of ARPN may remember Germanium as one of the key co-products for the gateway metal Zinc, which we covered on several occasions as part of our Through the Gateway” campaign over the past few years. 

“Alaska happens to be home to the world’s largest producing zinc mine, Red Dog, and the concentrates shipped from there contain noteworthy quantities of germanium,” writes Lasley. And while the United States’ net import dependence for Germanium has decreased in recent years – in part due to said production in Alaska – it is still pegged at higher than 50 percent.

As Lasley points out, “both the United States and China have included germanium in their stockpile programs and the European Union included germanium in a list of raw materials of critical concern for its member countries in 2010.”  Germanium was also included in the Department of Interior’s 2018 list of 35 minerals deemed critical from an economic and national security perspective.

Lasley goes on to discuss Germanium’s properties as well as current and prospective projects in Alaska.

Against the backdrop of the current push for renewable energy, demand for Germanium may well increase – making it all the more important that stakeholders factor considerations regarding the material into subsequent steps towards a comprehensive mineral resource strategy for the United States. 

Due to the popularity of Lasley’s series, North of 60 Mining News will be publishing “Critical Minerals Alaska”, a magazine in the spring of 2019. As North of 60 Mining News notes, “[t]his full-color magazine will include the information gathered during the research for this series and provide information on many of the other critical metals and minerals found across the state.”