As the German TV magazine ARD plusminus reports, the first machines in Germany are already at a standstill. Die casters who process magnesium directly are affected, but also the entire aluminium industry and many areas of the value chain. Franziska Erdle, Managing Director of WV Metalle, and Ulrich Grillo, former President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), say that the situation is becoming increasingly dramatic because stocks are slowly running out.
For a long time, Europe has been getting about 90% of its magnesium from China, where production and exports are currently being cut back enormously. The reason is to meet the climate targets.
In the past, Europe also had its own magnesium, for example in Norway. Almost 20 years ago, this was considered too expensive, energy-intensive and environmentally harmful, and production was gladly handed over to China. In times of uncertain supply chains, missing containers and other inconsistencies, this is taking its revenge.
Could magnesium be produced in Europe again? No question, it could, because the raw materials for magnesium are found in dolomite rock and the continent has plenty of it, but the production has gone.
In Norway, magnesium production processes are being considered that could be almost climate-neutral. By doing without carbon, almost 99% CO² could be saved. According to the director of the Heroya industrial park, there is still a lack of investment capital and perhaps also a lack of will to pay more for European magnesium in the future.