Tantalum Market Update (June 7, 2012)

For Q1 2012, data shows that imports of tantalum-niobium concentrate to China dropped 52 percent compared to the same period in 2011, Metal-Pages reported. Averaging $25,016 per ton, prices were about 2 percent higher year-on-year.

The three top exporters of concentrate to China were Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand. Each nation sold similar tonnage, but supply from Brazil was significantly more expensive, costing $23,262 per ton as opposed to the average $3,295/ton for Thailand and $3,435/ton for Malaysia.

The US was the only supplier to China whose tonnage sold represented a year-on-year increase during the quarter. Concentrate from this source averaged $78,098/ton.

Q1 exports of unwrought tantalum from China rose nearly 46 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The average price of $400/kg represents at 1,381 percent increase.

62 percent of this exported material went to the US and 38 percent went to Austria.

Throughout May and early June, tantalite basis 30 percent Ta2O5 prices on the spot market remained basically within the $95 to $105 range established in mid-March, though the past three weeks have seen the low bid rise to $98.