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10th May 2016

Beryllium

Beryllium

What Is Beryllium And Where Do I Use It?

  • Beryllium is a naturally occurring critical material and the fourth element in the periodic table. It is used in a variety of highly-innovative industry sectors such as the automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics electrical engineering and medical equipment sectors.
  • Beryllium is very light and rigid with a density thirty percent lower than Aluminium and 3 times the stiffness of titanium.
  • The alloy of copper with less than 2% Beryllium is as strong as steel, a very good conductor of electricity and heat, non-magnetic and non-sparkling. It resists deformation over time at elevated temperatures and thus is used to make extremely reliable conductive springs, such as connector terminals.
  • Beryllium metal is highly transparent to X-rays making it essential for X-Ray and CT Scan medical systems.

Where is Beryllium Explored?

  • The majority of world beryllium ore production (65%) takes place in the US.
  • The remaining output comes from China, Brazil and several nations in Africa, such as Nigeria, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Where is Beryllium Produced?

  • Most of the production is in the US.
  • The balance comes from Kazakhstan and China.

Specific Issues for Beryllium

  • The first Critical Raw Materials report by the European Commission in 2010 identified Beryllium as a CRM, and this status was renewed in the 2014 revision of the CRM report.
  • The economic importance of Beryllium was established due to its very unique combination of properties that make it non-substitutable in many demanding high-tech applications which would suffer a loss in performance if it were to be substituted. In terms of supply risk, there are no commercially viable sources of Beryllium in the EU. One US mine with over 100+ years of reserves is producing the ore used for over 65% of global demand.
  • Overly restrictive EU regulations such as REACH and workplace legislation do not embrace recent scientific data and proven industrial safety practices. This could alter the customer environment for the manufacture of critical components containing beryllium that will create economic disincentives to the ongoing supply of beryllium and its use in the EU.

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BeST