Market Research Report
Tantalum: Global Industry Markets and Outlook to 2020
|Published by||Roskill Information Services||Product code||235728|
|Published||Content info||148 Pages, 11 Chapters, 75 Tables, 28 Figures
Delivery time: 1-2 business days
|Tantalum: Global Industry Markets and Outlook to 2020|
|Published: June 3, 2016||Content info: 148 Pages, 11 Chapters, 75 Tables, 28 Figures||
Roskill forecasts that total new supply of tantalum will increase by 22% between 2016 and 2020. Much of the increase will come from conventional mining, which will see its share of supply rise from 32% to 44%, while artisanal mining will fall from 57% of supply in 2015 to 48% in 2020.
Tantalum production in Australia, which a decade ago accounted for up to 60% of global supply, fell to almost zero by the end of the 2000s as low prices made conventional mining there uneconomic. A fairly small amount of tantalum is currently being produced as a lithium by-product and there are several tantalum projects in the pipeline. By 2020, Australia could be supplying 7% of the world's tantalum.
In 2015, 19% of supply was from South America, from two large mines in Brazil, one of which is currently captive to a major tantalum processor, from artisanal mining and from slags generated during tin smelting. Conventional mining in Brazil is being expanded and by 2020 South America is set to account for 26% of global tantalum supply.
In 2015, an estimated 62% of tantalum supply was from Africa. The majority of that was from artisanal mining operations in the Great Lakes region, mainly Rwanda and the DRC. In recent years that region has accounted for 45% to 55% of global tantalum production. For much of the 2000s, tantalum from anywhere in Central Africa was tainted by association with the conflict in the eastern DRC, where tantalum production was smuggled into the world market via neighbouring countries and the proceeds used to fund the warring militias. As a result, processors other than in China largely declined to purchase tantalum of Central African origin. That has changed somewhat in the last few years, as government and industry-led initiatives designed to create a legitimate artisanal supply chain have started to take effect, and the flow of material from Central Africa to countries other than China has resumed.
Artisanal mining in Central Africa and elsewhere is highly flexible and miners can adjust quickly to changing market conditions. In 2015, for example, weak demand and low market prices resulted in a 40% drop in China's reported imports of tantalum concentrates from Rwanda. If the opposite market conditions arose, production in Central Africa could easily rise quickly.
Over the period to 2020, Roskill expects overall demand for tantalum to grow at 4.7%py, although growth rates for individual end-use markets will vary. Capacitors, the largest market for tantalum, face challenges, such as miniaturisation and material substitution, and demand growth in this segment is projected to be below average. Superalloys, the second-largest market, will have the highest rate of growth because of the positive outlook for the commercial aerospace industry. Sputtering targets, tantalum chemicals and tantalum mill products have a wide range of final applications and this diversity provides a measure of protection from swings in individual end-use markets. Demand in these segments will also show above-average growth. The use of tantalum in carbides will decline slowly.