As a kind of minor metal, tantalum finds very wide application. About half of the world's tantalum resources are applied in capacitor.
In 2010, the global output of tantalum ores reached 805 tons. In particular, the output of Brazil, as the world's largest tantalum ore producer, accounted for 22.4% of the world's total; while China had low output of tantalum concentrates, making up no more than 8% of the global total. As China imports 80% tantalum raw materials to meet its consumption, domestic tantalum processing businesses are mostly restricted by the uncertainty of raw material supply from overseas market.
For Ningxia Orient Tantalum Industry, as one of the leading tantalum manufacturers in the world, the global market occupancy of capacitor-grade tantalum powder exceeds 25%, while that of capacitor tantalum wire surpasses 60%. Ningxia Orient Tantalum Industry is almost fully reliant on the external purchase to meet its demand for tantalum raw materials, if the 20% contributed by the joint-stock project Ta-Nb mine in Nanping, Fujian province is excluded. Ningxia Orient Tantalum Industry establishes long-term cooperative relationship with Yichun Tantalum & Niobium Mine, the largest mine in China; also, it inked long-term deal with the large Ta-Nb mine in South America, and with Africa-based small-sized Ta-Nb mine as supplement of spot supplies.
Generally speaking, the raw material source of Ningxia Orient Tantalum Industry can be primarily guaranteed. However, due to the fact that the company doesn't possess its own mines, it is hard to keep the cost under control. As a result, it was forced to bear high risk in case of the short supply of raw materials. For example, the gross margin from the tantalum product business of the company in 2009 was just 13.9%.
Gross Margin of Tantalum Products of Ningxia Orient Tantalum Industry, 2006-2011
Source: Ningxia Orient Tantalum Industry;
ResearchInChina, Global and China Tantalum Industry Report, 2011
Presently, the Australia-based GAM features more competitive industry chain. GAM involving in the exploitation of tantalum ore announced in August 2011 to take over the tantalum processing plant under America-based Cabot, an international tycoon in the tantalum smelting field.
The report sheds lights on the tantalum ore reserves and key companies in China and beyond. Also it analyzes the tantalum electrolytic capacitor industry of China. As a very important component, tantalum electrolytic capacitor is commonly used in mobile phone (35%), digital camera (34%) and notebook computer (16%). The short renewal cycle of electronic products is bound to spur the consumption of tantalum capacitor.