Magnesium shortage: We need to talk to China!

10. November 2021

The chip crisis is a portent: Is something similar threatening the Chinese magnesium sector? The WirtschaftsVereinigung Metalle is sounding the alarm.

Around 87 percent of the world's magnesium is produced in China. And almost half of the exports end up in Europe. At least, it should. "It is expected that the current magnesium reserves in Germany, or in Europe as a whole, will be exhausted by the end of November 2021 at the latest," says a position paper of the WirtschaftsVereinigung Metalle.


Clear words to politicians

The fire letter to the German government - which is signed by Aluminium Deutschland as well as other associations - leaves nothing to be desired in terms of clarity.

It says that Germany and Europe are particularly affected by the current supply bottlenecks "because the remaining magnesium production was abandoned in 2001 as a result of dumped Chinese imports." As a result, Europe is now almost entirely dependent on Chinese magnesium.


Criticism of inaction at EU level

And even though the European Commission had reiterated as recently as 2020 that magnesium is on the EU's list of critical raw materials - "political-strategic considerations and measures to secure the flow of supplies have so far failed to materialize."

The consequences are well known. Magnesium prices have recently shot through the roof, and warnings of impending production losses have become increasingly drastic in recent weeks - not least from the automotive industry.


Talks with China. And finally a strategy

The WVMetalle is therefore calling for two things: Firstly, diplomatic talks with China must be initiated as a matter of urgency in order to be able to guarantee the continuation of production.

Second, the association calls for an industrial policy strategy to secure access to industrial metals. "Together with the EU, effective medium- and long-term measures must be taken to maintain functioning and sustainable value chains."