The tantalum market is boutique in size with around 1,300 tonnes required each year.
Its primary use is in capacitors for consumer electronics, particularly where long battery life and high performance is required such as smart phones, tablets and laptops.
What is tantalum?
The primary source of tantalum is from minerals such as tantalite, columbite, wodginite and microlite contained in pegmatite ore bodies. The largest deposits are located in Australia, Brazil and Africa.
Tantalum's major use is in the production of electronic components (capacitors) such as tablets, smart phones, digital cameras and electronic systems for vehicles, with additional use in components (superalloys) for chemical plants, nuclear power plants, airplane turbine blades and missiles. It is also used as a substitute for platinum.
The tantalum market is boutique in size with present global demand of 1,300-1,600 tonnes per annum and rapidly growing due to capacitor use in wireless and handheld devices. There are two major buyers of tantalum raw product worldwide: HC Starck and GAM.