When the chips are down: China threatens to cut supply on rare minerals

News junkies can be forgiven if they’ve never heard before of gallium and germanium. That’s all about to change. If our growing general knowledge of the physics periodic table seemed timed with the visit to Beijing of the US Treasury Secretary, it’s because China’s announcing controls on exports of key rare minerals that only it produces, minerals essential for microchips as well as electric vehicles and fibre optic cables. And after the recent ban on U-S memory chip maker Micron.