Growing Demand from New Technologies
High metal prices, better exploration techniques and better technologies are proving to be a much needed shot in the arm in rebirth of Spanish mining. Whether it be in rare metals or precious metals - its wake up time for Spain and mining exploration companies worldwide.
Tantalum is considered a rare metal also referred to as precious metal. Tantalum is a very valuable resource with inherent characteristics that are difficult to replicate with other elements. It is highly ductile which makes for ease of fabrication. It is extremely corrosion resistant, almost completely immune to attack by acids and liquid metals. Tantalum conducts heat better than nickel alloys, ductile irons, and stainless steel. It has a very high melting point, which makes it a very crucial element in applications that require high resistance to heat.
The demand for Tantalum metal has been driven primarily by the rapidly increasing market for high technology electronic equipment such as pagers, cell phones, computers, video cameras and automobile electronics. Tantalum is also used in medicine in situations where bio-compatibility is essential, such as prosthetics and bone repair materials.
Tantalum’s major use is in the production of electronic components, especially for capacitors. It is also used as an alloy with other metals in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of super alloys for jet engine components. Tantalum is also the most biocompatible metal known which makes it highly suitable for surgical repairs of human bones. There are various other applications which take advantage of its amazing qualities.
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Tantalum metal and concentrates are not traded in a central market. The market is essentially a spot market where buyers and sellers around the world establish prices on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
Various studies are conducted which keep track of prices. During the 1950's the price for the metal was approximately $3 USD per pound. Today a normal spot price would be in the range of $150 to $250 USD per pound. This itself is an indication reflecting the increase in demand for tantalum products.
Tantalum is known to be highly associated with Tin and Lithium metal, the two other major rare metals that we are mining in our Doade Presqueira property. Tantalum is found in combination with Niobium.
Tantalum is used by a large number of major international electronics producers
• Sony Corporation
• Motorola Inc.
• Nortel Networks Corporation
• Intel Corporation
• Hewlett-Packard Company
• Cisco Systems Inc.
• Dell Computer Corporation
• Compaq Computer Corporation
• Seagate Technology Inc.