High k Sourcing & the Supply Chain for Hafnium and Zirconium - Alkane Resources Ltd
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High k Sourcing & the Supply Chain for Hafnium and Zirconium

I would like to thank Dr Jonas Sundqvist from TECHCET for inviting me to join the CMC – Critical Materials for Semiconductor Device Manufacturing conference 2017, which resulted from our conversation over lunch at the NaMLab High k Application Workshop in Dresden, Germany, almost exactly 2 months ago.

I had asked a simple question: Does anyone know where hafnium and zirconium come from? I explained that hafnium was a byproduct from the nuclear industry, but came from Australian and South African zirconium-hafnium-silicate ores (zircon), that are mostly processed in China. I then said there was a growing shortage of hafnium. Everyone stopped eating and looked at me, and that is why I am here today.

I deal in critical raw materials, which enable many of the devices to work, and in most people’s eyes is the beginning of the discussion. I see the world very differently and literally dig much deeper into the supply chain, having spent 30+ years of my career working with companies in extracting and adding value to mineral ores containing the critical elements of the periodic table which are needed to make things work.

I find it curious that every stakeholder in the IoT believes they are the most important component, system, platform, or delivery method to connect to a customer, where maximising value is about closing the gap between the physical and digital world. This reminds me of the old joke, Who is the Boss?, where every part of the body thinks they should be Boss? Most Important Part of the IoT? Everyone and everything remotely involved! I think this a great metaphor for why everyone should be respected across the value chain, starting with the sustainable extraction of critical elements from the environment. In a company, the cleaner is just as important as the CEO as they all serve different but critical tasks.

I would also like to acknowledge the presence of Mr Ian Gandel who was in the audience and is Alkane’s largest shareholder, and Mr Patrick Bartl, who suggested I look at a TED Talk presentation by Mr Andrew Stanton on ‘The clues to a great story’. Andrew, of course, is the director of Finding Nemo. Andrew says don’t give the audience 2+ 2 = 4, just give them 2+2, and make them earn their lunch! Let’s see how I go!

View my presentation at http://alkane.com.au/pdf/announcements/20170512.pdf