Australian Tantalum Companies and Tantalum Resources
Australian ASX listed companies have just on a 100 million pounds of contained tantalum (2011).
The latest United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the world has around 300 million pounds of Tantalum. The world distribution in 2007 was thought to be: 44% in South America, 27% in Australia, 13% in Asia, 12% in Africa, and 5% in North America. Australia probably has a higher percentage now as non listed Global Advanced Metals formerly known as Talison Lithium's Tantalum isn't included in the 100 million pounds of JORC resources and quite possibly the USGS 2007 figure of 300m pounds has increased due to recent Australian increases.
Tantalum is a very rare, highly strategic commodity because of its unique chemical and physical properties
The major use for tantalum, as tantalum metal powder, is in the production of electronic components, mainly tantalum capacitors. Major end uses for tantalum capacitors include portable telephones, pagers, personal computers, and automotive electronics. Alloyed with other metals, tantalum is also used in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of superalloys for jet engine components.
According to jack Lifton one of the world's leading experts in the "technology metals" - there was zero world production of Tantalum in 2009. "No tantalum was produced in 2009 even though tantalum is a critical technology metal for all electronics. This was an issue of economics and politics largely ignored by the world’s stock markets". Global Advanced Metals has now restarted its Western Australian Wodinga mine and plans to produce around 700,000 pounds per annum according to recent reports.
According to the 2011 USGS report the USA consumed 1,200,000 pounds of tantalum. For CY 2008, global consumption of tantalum ores and concentrates totaled approximately 6.22 million. By 2015 global demand for tantalum is expected to be around 7.33 million pounds, a year on year increase of ~ 9.2% in part to compensate for the GFC 2009 induced consumption decline. read more
Global tantalum production in 2010 was said to be around 2 million pounds but as tantalum is now a declared "conflict" metal the real figure may differ as smuggling from the Democratic Republic of Congo was involved but is now being closely watched.
It is important to note that the USA is totally dependant on tantalum imports.
Please note that this is a rapidly changing field and that the data contained will inevitably be out of date some of the time; meaning that you should not rely on it to make investment decisions and consequently you must do your own research.
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