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Tantalum: Market Outlook to 2016

Consumption of tantalum reached an all-time peak in 2008, before the global economic downturn caused demand for the metal to fall sharply in all end-use markets in 2009. Roskill estimates total demand to have fallen by nearly 40% from the 2008 level. A strong recovery was seen in 2010, with demand returning to a level approaching the peak. The market eased in 2011 and will probably weaken further in 2012 before returning to a growth trend and recovering fully by mid-decade. Roskill does not discount the potential for another large fall in demand for tantalum in 2012 and 2013, however.

Market prices for tantalum showed few dramatic movements during most of the last decade and in mid-2009 were at about US$35/lb Ta2O5. By that time, Talison (now GAM) had already suspended production because it had been unable to negotiate a necessary large increase in its contract prices owing to the downturn in demand, significant downstream inventories and the continuing availability of low cost tantalum from Central Africa. Recovery in demand in 2010 saw tantalum market prices rise rapidly to a level at which GAM was able to attract a contract price sufficiently high to enable a return to production in 2011. Contract prices have since slipped and GAM has halted production at its Wodgina mine, although it continues to process tantalum concentrates from elsewhere.

Tantalum demand, 2005 to 2011 (t Ta)

Get accurate answers from independent exports

  • What changes in the supply of tantalum are expected by mid-decade?
  • How will world demand for tantalum develop through to 2016?
  • What will be the main drivers and limiters of demand?
  • What is the outlook for tantalum prices?

Table of Contents

1. Summary

2. Introduction

  • 2.1. Occurrence and reserves of tantalum
    • 2.1.1. Occurrence of tantalum
    • 2.1.2. Reserves and resources of tantalum
    • 2.1.3. Mining and processing of tantalum

3. World supply of tantalum to 2011

  • 3.1. Overview
  • 3.2. Primary production
    • 3.2.1. Conventional mines
    • 3.2.2. Artisanal mines and tin slags
      • 3.2.2.1. Artisanal mines
      • 3.2.2.2. Slags
  • 3.3. Secondary supply
    • 3.3.1. Stockpiles/inventories
    • 3.3.2. Recycling of tantalum wastes and scrap

4. Outlook for world supply of tantalum to 2016

  • 4.1. Primary production
  • 4.2. Secondary supply

5. Summary of tantalum producers, projects and processors

  • 5.1. Primary tantalum producers
  • 5.2. Tantalum projects
  • 5.3. Tantalum processors

6. Review of tantalum production, projects and processing by country

  • 6.1. Angola
  • 6.2. Argentina
  • 6.3. Australia
    • 6.3.1. Reserves of tantalum
    • 6.3.2. Production of tantalum minerals
    • 6.3.3. International trade
    • 6.3.4. Producers of tantalum
      • 6.3.4.1. Global Advanced Metals (GAM)
      • 6.3.4.2. Past producers
    • 6.3.5. Tantalum projects
      • 6.3.5.1. Dubbo Zirconia Project
      • 6.3.5.2. Lynas
      • 6.3.5.3. Others
  • 6.4. Austria
    • 6.4.1. International trade
    • 6.4.2. Processors of tantalum
      • 6.4.2.1. Plansee
      • 6.4.2.2. Treibacher Industrie
  • 6.5. Bolivia
  • 6.6. Brazil
    • 6.6.1. Reserves of tantalum
    • 6.6.2. Production of tantalum minerals
    • 6.6.3. International trade
    • 6.6.4. Producers of tantalum
      • 6.6.4.1. LSM Brasil
      • 6.6.4.2. Pitinga
  • 6.7. Burundi
  • 6.8. Cameroon
  • 6.9. Canada
    • 6.9.1. Reserves of tantalum
    • 6.9.2. Production of tantalum minerals
    • 6.9.3. International trade
    • 6.9.4. Producers of tantalum
      • 6.9.4.1. Tanco
    • 6.9.5. Tantalum projects
      • 6.9.5.1. Avalon Rare Metals
      • 6.9.5.2. Commerce Resources
      • 6.9.5.3. Crevier Minerals
      • 6.9.5.4. Critical Elements
      • 6.9.5.5. Houston Lake Mining
      • 6.9.5.6. International Bethehem Mining
      • 6.9.5.7. Others
  • 6.10. Chad
  • 6.11. China
    • 6.11.1. Reserves of tantalum
    • 6.11.2. Production of tantalum minerals
    • 6.11.3. International trade
    • 6.11.4. Producers of tantalum
      • 6.11.4.1. Minning Tantalum-Niobium Mining Development
      • 6.11.4.2. Yichun Tantalum
      • 6.11.4.3. Other
    • 6.11.5. Processors of tantalum
      • 6.11.5.1. Conghua Tantalum & Niobium Smeltery
      • 6.11.5.2. Duoluoshan Sapphire Rare Metals
      • 6.11.5.3. Fogang Jiata Metals
      • 6.11.5.4. F&X Electro-Materials
      • 6.11.5.5. Jiujiang Jinxin Nonferrous Metals
      • 6.11.5.6. Jiujiang TaNbRe Smelter
      • 6.11.5.7. King-Tan Tantalum Industry
      • 6.11.5.8. Ningxia Orient
      • 6.11.5.9. Zhuzhou Cemented Carbide Works
  • 6.12. Colombia
  • 6.13. Congo Brazzaville
  • 6.14. Cote d Ivoire
  • 6.15. Czech Republic
  • 6.16. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • 6.17. Egypt
    • 6.17.1. Tantalum Egypt
  • 6.18. Estonia
    • 6.18.1. Molycorp Silmet
  • 6.19. Ethiopia
    • 6.19.1. Kenticha
  • 6.20. Finland
  • 6.21. France
  • 6.22. Gabon
  • 6.23. Germany
    • 6.23.1. International trade
    • 6.23.2. Processors of tantalum
      • 6.23.2.1. GfE
      • 6.23.2.2. Freiberger NE-Metall
      • 6.23.2.3. HC Starck
      • 6.23.2.4. WC Heraeus
  • 6.24. Ghana
  • 6.25. Greenland
    • 6.25.1. Tantalum projects
      • 6.25.1.1. Ram Resources
      • 6.25.1.2. Hudson Resources
  • 6.26. Guyana
  • 6.27. Guyane
  • 6.28. India
  • 6.29. Ireland
  • 6.30. Japan
    • 6.30.1. International trade
    • 6.30.2. Processors of tantalum
      • 6.30.2.1. GAM Technology
      • 6.30.2.2. HC Starck
      • 6.30.2.3. Japan New Metals
      • 6.30.2.4. Mitsui Mining and Smelting
  • 6.31. Kazakhstan
    • 6.31.1. Reserves of tantalum
    • 6.31.2. Production of tantalum
    • 6.31.3. International trade
    • 6.31.4. Producers and processors of tantalum
      • 6.31.4.1. Belogorsky Mining-Concentrating Combine
      • 6.31.4.2. Irtysh Chemical-Metallurgical Plant
      • 6.31.4.3. Ulba Metallurgical Plant
  • 6.32. Kenya
  • 6.33. Kyrgyzstan
  • 6.34. Malawi
    • 6.34.1. Globe Metals and Mining
  • 6.35. Malaysia
  • 6.36. Mongolia
  • 6.37. Morocco
  • 6.38. Mozambique
    • 6.38.1. Production of tantalum
    • 6.38.2. International trade
    • 6.38.3. Producers of tantalum
      • 6.38.3.1. Noventa
      • 6.38.3.2. Pacific Wildcat Resources
  • 6.39. Namibia
  • 6.40. Nigeria
  • 6.41. Portugal
  • 6.42. Russia
    • 6.42.1. Reserves of tantalum minerals in Russia
    • 6.42.2. International trade
    • 6.42.3. Producers and processors of tantalum
      • 6.42.3.1. Lovozero Mining-Concentrating Combine
      • 6.42.3.2. Solikamsk Magnesium Works
      • 6.42.3.3. Technoinvest Alliance
      • 6.42.3.4. Other
  • 6.43. Rwanda
  • 6.44. Saudi Arabia
    • 6.44.1. Tertiary Minerals
  • 6.45. Sierra Leone
  • 6.46. Somalia
  • 6.47. South Africa
  • 6.48. Spain
  • 6.48.1. Solid Resources
  • 6.49. Tanzania
  • 6.50. Thailand
    • 6.50.1. Production of tantalum
    • 6.50.2. International trade
    • 6.50.3. Producers and processors of tantalum
      • 6.50.3.1. HC Starck
      • 6.50.3.2. Thailand Smelting and Refining (Thaisarco)
  • 6.51. Uganda
  • 6.52. Ukraine
  • 6.53. UK
  • 6.54. USA
    • 6.54.1. International trade in tantalum
    • 6.54.2. Processors of tantalum in the USA
      • 6.54.2.1. Cabot Supermetals/GAM Technology
      • 6.54.2.2. Exotech
      • 6.54.2.3. Hi-Temp Specialty Metals
      • 6.54.2.4. Niotan/KEMET Blue Powder
      • 6.54.2.5. HC Starck
  • 6.55. Venezuela
  • 6.56. Zambia
  • 6.57. Zimbabwe

7. International trade in tantalum

  • 7.1. Tantalum minerals
  • 7.2. Tantalum products, waste and scrap

8. World consumption of tantalum

  • 8.1. World consumption of tantalum to 2011
  • 8.2. Forecast world demand for tantalum to 2016
  • 8.3. Forecast tantalum supply/demand balance to 2016

9. End uses for tantalum

  • 9.1. Capacitors
    • 9.1.1. Capacitor materials, types and development
    • 9.1.2. Producers of tantalum capacitors
    • 9.1.3. Tantalum capacitors market
  • 9.2. Other electronics applications
    • 9.2.1. Sputtering targets
    • 9.2.2. SAW filters
  • 9.3. Alloy additives
    • 9.3.1. Use of superalloys in aerospace
    • 9.3.2. Use of superalloys in non-aerospace applications
  • 9.4. Mill products
    • 9.4.1. Corrosion-resistant applications for tantalum mill products
    • 9.4.2. Other applications for tantalum mill products
  • 9.5. Cemented carbides
  • 9.6. Tantalum chemicals

10. Tantalum prices

  • 10.1. Tantalum minerals
  • 10.2. Tantalum products

List of Tables:

  • 1. World: Forecast supply of primary tantalum, 2012 to 2016
  • 2. World: Forecast demand for tantalum, 2012 to 2016
  • 3. Properties of tantalum
  • 4. Principal tantalum-bearing minerals
  • 5. World: Most likely resource base for tantalum
  • 6. World: Tantalum supply, 2000 to 2011
  • 7. World: Supply of tantalum by source, 2000 and 2011
  • 8. World: Primary production of tantalum, 2011 and base-case forecast to 2016
  • 9. World: Primary production of tantalum, 2011 and alternative forecast scenarios to 2016
  • 10. World: Summary of the main primary sources of tantalum
  • 11. World: Summary of tantalum projects
  • 12. World: Summary of the main processors of tantalum
  • 13. Selected countries: Reported imports of tantalum concentrates from Australia, 2000 to 2011
  • 14. Sons of Gwalia: Tantalum minerals reserves and resources
  • 15. Austria: Imports of tantalum, niobium and vanadium ores and concentrates, 2005 to 2008
  • 16. Austria: International trade in unworked tantalum and tantalum scrap, 2005 to 2011
  • 17. Brazil: International trade in tantalum, niobium and vanadium ores and concentrates, 2006 to 2011
  • 18. Brazil: Exports of tantalum articles, 2006 to 2011
  • 19. Burundi: Production of tantalum minerals, 2000 to 2010
  • 20. Reported imports of tantalum and niobium minerals from Burundi, 2000 to 2011
  • 21. Canada: Exports of tantalum ores and concentrates, 2006 to 2011
  • 22. China: Summary of tantalum minerals deposits
  • 23. China: Imports of tantalum ores and concentrates, 2007 to 2011
  • 24. China: International trade in worked and unworked tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 25. F&X Electro-Materials: Production capacity for tantalum and niobium products, 2011 and 2012
  • 26. Czech Republic: International trade in worked and unworked tantalum and tantalum scrap, 2007 to 2011
  • 27. China/Hong Kong: Imports of tantalum minerals from the DRC, 2007 to 2011
  • 28. Molycorp Silmet: Specifications for niobium and tantalum raw materials
  • 29. Estonia: International trade in tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 30. Reported imports of tantalum and niobium ores and concentrates from Ethiopia, 2007 to 2011
  • 31. Germany: International trade in tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 32. Japan: International trade in tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 33. Japan New Metals: Compositions of tantalum-based powders
  • 34. Kazakhstan: Principal deposits of tantalum and niobium-bearing ores
  • 35. Kazakhstan: International trade in tantalum minerals, 2007 to 2011
  • 36. Kazakhstan: Imports of tantalum waste and scrap, 2007 to 2011
  • 37. Kazakhstan: International trade in worked and unworked tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 38. Reported imports of tantalum and niobium ores and concentrates from Kenya, 2007 to 2011
  • 39. Kyrgyzstan: Summary of identified niobium and tantalum occurrences
  • 40. Reported imports of tantalum minerals from Mozambique, 2007 to 2011
  • 41. Noventa: Tantalum resources at Marropino and Morrua
  • 42. Namibia: Summary of tantalum and niobium minerals resources
  • 43. Reported imports of tantalum and niobium minerals from Nigeria, 2007 to 2011
  • 44. Russia: Principal deposits of tantalum- and niobium-bearing ores
  • 45. Russia: International trade in tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 46. Reported imports of tantalum and niobium minerals from Rwanda, 2007 to 2011
  • 47. South Africa: Imports of tantalum minerals, 2007 to 2011
  • 48. Solid Resources: Estimated tantalum resources at Presqueiras and Taboazas
  • 49. Thailand: Production of tantalum metal and powder, 2006 to 2010
  • 50. Thailand: International trade in tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 51. UK: International trade in tantalum, 2007 to 2011
  • 52. USA: International trade in tantalum ores and concentrates, 2005 to 2011
  • 53. USA: International trade in worked and unworked tantalum, and tantalum waste & scrap, 2005 to 2011
  • 54. Principal countries: Exports of tantalum ores and concentrates, 2006 to 2011
  • 55. Selected countries: Imports of tantalum ores and concentrates, 2006 to 2011
  • 56. China/Hong Kong: Imports of tantalum minerals from the Central African region, 2009 to 2011
  • 57. Other countries: Imports of tantalum minerals from the Central African region, 2009 to 2011
  • 58. Japan: Imports of K-salt, 2004 to 2011
  • 59. World: Imports of unworked tantalum, 2006 to 2011
  • 60. World: Imports of worked tantalum, 2006 to 2011
  • 61. World: Imports of tantalum waste and scrap, 2006 to 2011
  • 62. World: Estimated consumption of tantalum by end use, 2005 to 2011
  • 63. USA and Japan: Consumption of tantalum, 2000 to 2011
  • 64. World: Forecast demand for tantalum, 2012 to 2016
  • 65. Applications for tantalum
  • 66. Comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of aluminium, ceramic and tantalum capacitors
  • 67. Properties of lithium niobate and lithium tantalite
  • 68. Applications for SAW components
  • 69. Summary of principal tantalum-bearing alloys
  • 70. General effects of alloying elements on nickel-based superalloys
  • 71. Composition of typical single-crystal nickel-based superalloys
  • 72. Sample superalloys element and cost, 2011
  • 73. World: Leading manufacturers of aircraft engines
  • 74. Mechanical properties of tantalum mill products
  • 75. Reagents to which tantalum is not chemically resistant
  • 76. Corrosion rates for tantalum in hydrochloric acid
  • 77. Physical properties of tantalum carbide
  • 78. Suppliers and fabricators of selected carbides
  • 79. Forecast tantalum prices, 2012 to 2016 (current)
  • 80. Forecast tantalum prices, 2012 to 2016 (constant)

List of Figures:

  • 1. World: Probable resource base for tantalum
  • 2. World: Supply of primary tantalum by type, 2011
  • 3. World: Estimated consumption of tantalum by end use, 2011
  • 4. World: Forecast tantalum supply balance, 2012 to 2016
  • 5. World: Tantalum demand and prices, 2005 to 2011 and forecasts to 2016
  • 6. Tin-tantalum processing at Greenbushes
  • 7. Solvent extraction of tantalum and niobium compounds
  • 8. Tantalum supply chain
  • 9. World: Primary production of tantalum, 2011
  • 10. World: Primary production of tantalum from conventional mines, by country, 2011
  • 11. World: Primary production of tantalum from conventional mines, by company, 2011
  • 12. World: Primary production of tantalum from artisanal mines and tins slags, 2011
  • 13. World: Secondary tantalum supply, 2011 and forecasts to 2016
  • 14. Australia: Production of tantalum minerals, 2001 to 2011
  • 15. Brazil: Production of tantalum minerals, 2001 to 2011
  • 16. Canada: Production of tantalum minerals, 2000 to 2011
  • 17. World: Reported imports of worked and unworked tantalum and tantalum waste and scrap, 2006 to 2011
  • 18. Selected countries: Reported imports of worked and unworked tantalum and tantalum waste and scrap, by type, 2011
  • 19. World: Consumption of tantalum, 2005 to 2011
  • 20. World: Estimated consumption of tantalum by end use, 2011
  • 21. World: Supply/demand balance for tantalum to 2016
  • 22. Tantalum capacitor market share by company
  • 23. World: Capacitance market size by material, 2007 to 2012
  • 24. World: Consumption of tantalum capacitors by region, 2010 and 2011
  • 25. USA: Shipments of capacitors of all types, 2000 to 2010
  • 26. Japan: Production of tantalum capacitors, 2000 to 2010
  • 27. World: Estimated division of the high-performance alloys market by region, 2011
  • 28. World: Estimated division of the high-performance alloys market by application, 2011
  • 29. World: Aerospace raw materials demand by weight, 2010
  • 30. World: Aerospace raw materials demand by value, 2010
  • 31. World: Jet airplane and engine deliveries, 1996 to 2011
  • 32. World: Forecast jet airplane and engine deliveries, 2011 to 2016
  • 33. World and China: Forecast air travel demand growth, 2010 to 2028
  • 34. World: Gas turbine power generation orders, 1980 to 2010
  • 35. World: Gas turbine power generation orders by region, 2010
  • 36. World: Forecast gas turbine production, 2011 to 2016
  • 37. Tantalum prices, 2005 to 2011
  • 38. China: Market prices for tantalum products, June 2012
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