Published Date : Jul 27, 2016
Tantalum is known as a transition metal that is hard, bluish gray in appearance and is considered as a rare earth metal. Tantalum metal is characterized by its exceptionally high melting point that can be enhanced only by rhenium, tungsten, carbon, and osmium. Tantalum is mostly obtained from hard rock mines; nevertheless, it is also derived from artisanal mines and tin slags. Tantalite is comparatively high resistant to corrosion and is an essential element of the refractory metals group.
Tantalum is used widely across the electronics industry in which it is used for manufacturing high power resistors and capacitors. Tantalum needs to compete with low-cost aluminum and ceramic capacitors in the overall electronics industry. Thus, the use of this metal is limited to high-end capacitors, which requires high volumetric capacity and stability. Apart from these, tantalum is used in diverse sectors such as manufacturing and chemical processing of super-alloys and medical devices. The tantalum-oxide is also use in x-ray equipment and camera lenses; whereas the tantalum carbide is used to make several cutting tools.
The growing demand for electronic equipment and gadgets across the globe is one of the prominent factors projected to bolster the growth of the global tantalum market in the coming few years. Furthermore, the use of this metal in land-based gas turbine and aviation is estimated to drive the global market in the near future. On the flip side, the imbalance between supply and demand due to the ban on imports in Central Africa is anticipated to curtail the growth of the global tantalum market in the next few years.
Some of the key mines of tantalum are located in Greenbushes, Kenticha, Wodgina, and Nanping. And the prominent players operating in the global tantalum market are China Minmetals Corp., Cabot Corp., Ethiopia Mineral Development Share Company, and Talison Minerals Pty Ltd. The growing demand and application of tantalum are attracting several players to enter the market and create a niche for themselves. These players are making efforts to expand the application base in order to gain the competitive advantage in the overall market.