Tantalum Demand a Myth?

The ‘Tantalum/Niobium Supply and Price Outlook’ presentation by David Trueman PhD PGeo of Avalon Rare Metals was insightful and intriguing. Presenting here at the Rare Metals Summit in LA — here are some highpoints:

  • The primary producers of tantalum are the following 3 mines:TAMCO, Wodgina and Greenbushes (Correction Received from Dave Trueman 4-8-2010: "Hi Tracy,
    TANCO, Wodgina and Greenbushes, while historically have been big producers, are all shut down at the moment. Noventa in Mozambique is shut down, the Yichun in China has recovery problems and whereas the Abu Dahbab in Egypt is essentially captive to Starck, they are talking about producing KTF in Egypt rather than ship cons.
    The only significant production I see is from the Mibra mine in Brazil and maybe the Kenticha mine in Ethiopia. Between the they may be producing 350 tonnes per year or about 1/4 to 1/3 of normal demand.")
  • The world supplies of Niobium and Tantalum are more than adequate
  • Tantalum is waiting for a draw down in stockpiles before demand and prices will rise reopening dormant mines

Perhaps the largest point made in this presentation was when Jack Lifton asked David why then was there so much interest in producing tantalum in exploration properties in Canada. David smiled and said “mining promoters, I guess”…small chuckle in the crowd. Again, am here listening from an investment perspective and seeking to dispel myths…