Bismuth is element 83 on the periodic table. This raw material is a brittle, crystalline, white metal with a particularly low melting point , which enables it to form alloys that can be used for molds, fire detectors and fire extinguishers. It has multiple applications and it could be a possible substitute for lead due to the fact that is less toxic.
Bismuth is rarely extracted by itself, but is mainly extracted as a by-product of lead and tungsten. This said, in the European Union, its presence is very scarce. In fact, we depend 100% on imports to supply it. Mostly, it is imported from China (93%), which is also the main provider of other Raw Materials for the EU.
Unfortunately, the end-life recovery rate is of 0%, which means, there are no established protocols to recover this Critical Raw Material.
Despite the fact that Antimony is scarce in the EU, it has many applications in our daily lives. In RECOPPs we recover it in the form of Bismuth Oxychloride which, in fact, since it is non-toxic and eco-friendly, is mainly used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Since it is less toxic, it is used mostly used as a fusible alloy and as a pigment in wall coatings, in substitution for other metals considered to be more harmful.