As a rare metal, Tantalum has relatively less resources on the earth than other metals. It has been proved that tantalum resources are mainly distributed in Australia and Brazil. Australia alone accounts for nearly 62% of global tantalum reserves, followed by It is Brazil, accounting for 36% of the total. According to the latest survey data released by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2014, the world has identified 364,000 tons of tantalum reserves, and Australia, Canada, Brazil and African countries account for 85% of the world ’s tantalum resources. Australia has the highest tantalum reserves, ranking first in the world. Australia has 62,000 tons of tantalum reserves, and Brazil has about 36,000 tons. Tantalum resources are distributed in the United States, Burundi, Canada, Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Rwanda, but the exact amount is uncertain. Among them, the United States has proven the resources of tantalum deposits of about 1500 tons, but according to the market price of tantalum in 2013, these resources do not have economic exploitation value.
The world's proven reserves of niobium resources are about 11.5 million tons. The known deposits contain approximately 19.8 million tons of niobium. Brazil has the most niobium reserves, accounting for 91.1% of the world's niobium reserves. Brazil's CBMM, Catalao and Canada's Neobeck are the world's major suppliers of niobium ore and niobium products.
Reserves and distribution of tantalum resources in China
According to the statistics of China ’s ore reserves in 2007, China ’s tantalum minerals are distributed in 92 mining areas in 13 provinces (regions). The total reserves of Ta 2 O 5 are 84,000 tons. From the perspective of regional distribution, Jiangxi tantalum ore resources are the most abundant. Rich, slightly in Inner Mongolia and Guangdong. These three provinces (regions) account for 72.5% of China's total tantalum reserves. China's total Nb 2 O 5 holdings are 3.88 million tons, second only to Brazil and second in the world.
The industrial reserves of niobium in China are about 6.6 million tons, and there are 99 mineral areas dominated by niobium. The distribution of tantalum ore resources in China is as follows: Jiangxi accounts for 25.8%, Inner Mongolia accounts for 24.2%, Guangdong accounts for 22.6%, 3 provinces (regions) account for 72.6%, followed by Hunan accounts for 8.6%, Guangxi accounts for 5.9%, Sichuan accounts for 5.3%, and Fujian It accounted for 5.1%, Hubei accounted for 1.2%, 5 provinces accounted for 26.1%, and Xinjiang, Henan, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, and Shandong accounted for 1.3%. Sand ore reserves: Tantalite minerals are mainly distributed in Guangdong, and fine-grained minerals are distributed in Hunan and Guangdong, the former accounting for 55.5% and the latter accounting for 44.4%.
According to statistics from the Tantalum and Niobium International Research Center (TIC) in 2014, we can roughly understand the current production capacity of the global tantalum and niobium industry.
The current domestic production capacity of potassium salts and oxides is far greater than market demand, and the production capacity of high-value-added products at the back end is also considerable, but the output of ore is very small, plus the technical capabilities of high-value-added products are at a foreign level. The gap means that many production and processing enterprises in China's tantalum and niobium industry can only digest excess capacity by taking the road of importing ore and exporting intermediate processed products, with low profits and high risks.
Supply and demand status of tantalum and niobium production chain
By the end of 2011, the tantalum and niobium industry was generally operating in a benign environment. There was a large space for the production of tantalum and niobium in the front end. There was also a certain profit in the wet smelting and fire smelting in the middle. There is also a lot of operating space for the production and sales market of tantalum wire, but since the second half of 2012, with the emergence of the global financial crisis, applications such as tantalum and niobium have been relatively narrow, and the consumer field is mostly in high-end electronic products. The industry has suffered a huge impact, and the special two-side nature of China's tantalum and niobium industry (raw materials outside, market outside) is under greater market pressure.
Since October 2012, the price of tantalum ore in the Chinese market has been declining. The current sales price has far exceeded the production cost of domestic mines. Even African tantalum ore, which has been mainly sold at low prices, has felt the market. Downturn pressure has significantly reduced shipments. At the same time, due to weak end-market support for tantalum ore consumption and the sluggish sales market of finished products in the tantalum-niobium production chain, foreign users have used both ends to lock (lock sales price and raw material price) to organize the supply of goods for production and fully compress raw materials. 3. Maintain the normal operation of the industrial chain based on the profit margins of the mid-end processing links. In mainland China, the listed company Ningxia Dongfang Tantalum Co., Ltd. has been procuring raw materials and reducing procurement costs by directly trading with African tantalum suppliers for the past three years in order to digest high-priced ore signed and purchased before 2012 and reduce corporate losses. The domestic procurement of tantalum ore, oxides, and potassium salts has basically stopped, and most of the other domestic tantalum and niobium processing enterprises also use foreign imports, domestic assistance, and two-end locked procurement methods to purchase ore, arrange orders to organize production, and basically do not make large-scale production. Inventory has caused the current low unit price and small sales volume of tantalum and niobium concentrates. On the whole, the current market for tantalum and niobium is not strong, the cost is high, the sales price is low, and the operation is not smooth. According to the statistics of the Tantalum and Niobium Branch of the China Nonferrous Metals Association at the end of 2014, we can see that although China has sufficient processing capacity, due to the lack of self-produced ore and insufficient terminal processing capacity, many tantalum and niobium processing companies were unable to Full production. In 2014, Chinese tantalum and niobium companies produced a total of 112 tons of tantalum ore (Ta 2 O 5 count), 458 tons of potassium salt, 262 tons of high purity tantalum oxide, tantalum metal (tantalum bar, tantalum products, capacitor tantalum powder, metallurgical grade Tantalum powder, tantalum wire) 575 tons, tantalum carbide 55 tons. The production capacity is too different from the actual output, and this is the output. At present, each processing factory still has a certain amount of inventory, and the situation of oversupply is apparent.
Contact: Alex Li
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