Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 EDT

For an Industry Plagued by Ethical Quandaries, Tantalum Hacking Demonstrates How Important Rare Metals Are, How Difficult They Can Be to Obtain

August 30, 2012

FARMINGTON, Conn., Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Known largely for its use in capacitors for mobile phones, DVD players, game consoles, and computers, tantalum is an increasingly important rare metal for the electronics manufacturing industry. Primarily obtained through extraction from columbite-tantalite (“Coltan”), tantalum is primarily produced in Australia and Brazil, but controversial sourcing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) – even though it represents just a tiny fraction of total global tantalum production – was the described motive behind this week’s significant hacking of electronics manufacturer AVX’s website by the hacker collective Anonymous.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120830/CG65797)

The attack draws attention to the fact that rare metals – so important to the electronics industry – are often obtained in countries with very poor human rights records, and can be linked (either directly or indirectly) to conflict within those regions. Such attacks often draw unwanted publicity and public condemnation of the companies actions, business relations, and sourcing policies, and as such manufacturers are more conscious than ever about their behavior.

These market research reports, available immediately from Global Information Inc (GII), offer unique and valuable insight into this increasingly important market, providing detailed information that will prove indispensable for CEOs, marketers, product managers, suppliers, service providers, government agencies, investors, analysts and regulators.

Tantalum: Market outlook to 2016, 11th

Consumption of tantalum reached an all-time peak in 2008, before the global economic downturn caused demand for the metal to fall sharply in all end-use markets in 2009. Roskill estimates total demand to have fallen by nearly 40% from the 2008 level. A strong recovery was seen in 2010, with demand returning to a level approaching the peak. The market eased in 2011 and will probably weaken further in 2012 before returning to a growth trend and recovering fully by mid-decade. Roskill does not discount the potential for another large fall in demand for tantalum in 2012 and 2013, however.

Market prices for tantalum showed few dramatic movements during most of the last decade and in mid-2009 were at about US$35/lb Ta2O5. By that time, Talison (now GAM) had already suspended production because it had been unable to negotiate a necessary large increase in its contract prices owing to the downturn in demand, significant downstream inventories and the continuing availability of low cost tantalum from Central Africa. Recovery in demand in 2010 saw tantalum market prices rise rapidly to a level at which GAM was able to attract a contract price sufficiently high to enable a return to production in 2011. Contract prices have since slipped and GAM has halted production at its Wodgina mine, although it continues to process tantalum concentrates from elsewhere.

For a detailed executive summary and table of contents, or to request free sample pages from the full report, please visit http://www.giiresearch.com/report/ros235728-tantalum-market-outlook-2016-11th.html

Tantalum: World Market Outlook: 2012-2017

This study covers the global market for tantalum materials, including tantalum ores and concentrates and engineered tantalum materials for consumption in tantalum capacitor anodes, tantalum sputtering targets, tantalum superalloys, cemented carbide cutting tools, fabricated mill products and tantalum chemicals and compounds. The study forecasts demand for tantalum based upon its unique attributes of capacitance, durability, corrosion and heat resistance; as well as its unique optical properties. The study addresses key issues facing the industry between 2012 and 2017, including the expected price fluctuations for the metal, including its potential deficit amidst mine closings; stringent legislation and vertical integration within the supply chain.

The study forecasts demand for tantalum in capacitor anodes, taking into consideration the projected demand for tantalum capacitors consumed in various portable digital electronics, including smartphones and computer tablets, notebook computers and servers; automotive electronic subassemblies; and consumer electronics such as game consoles; and digital cameras; and tempers demand forecasts based upon displacement by alternative technologies such as high capacitance MLCC and conductive polymer aluminum chip capacitors. It also forecasts tantalum consumption in hard metals, including cemented carbide cutting tools, superalloys, and mil products, amidst expected increases in production of aircraft and automobiles to satisfy increasing demand from emerging economies. The study also forecasts primary and secondary tantalum supply, including primary mining operations and their expected expansion.

For a detailed executive summary and table of contents, or to request free sample pages from the full report, please visit http://www.giiresearch.com/report/pn233271-tantalum-world-market-outlook-2012-2017.html

The Rare Earths Market 2012-2022

Rare earths are also known as technology metal, because without the use of rare earths it would not be possible to make the latest digital technology products. Although rare earths are used in small quantities, their role is pivotal. Unlike other elements, the rare earths industry is dominated by China, which accounted for 95.3% of the total global production. However, the global market for rare earths is expected to be $18.3bn in 2012.

It is expected that the global rare earths market value will decline during the forecast period due to falling prices of rare earths. The recent downward spiral in the rare earths prices will continue during the forecast period.

For a detailed executive summary and table of contents, or to request free sample pages from the full report, please visit http://www.giiresearch.com/report/kt245781-rare-earths-market-2012-2022.html

About Global Information Inc. Global Information (GII) (http://www.giiresearch.com) is an information service company partnering with over 300 research companies around the world. Global Information has been in the business of distributing technical and market research for more than 25 years. Expanded from its original headquarters in Japan, Global Information now has offices in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Europe and the United States.

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Source: PR Newswire