Mining Tantalum and Niobium
Since 1982, the dramatic increase in demand for tantalum has been fueled at a rate of 10% per year by the electronics industry (Roskill Information Services).
Characterised by a refractory nature, low natural abundance, extensive solid solution, few known deposits, sporadic supply and difficult metallurgy, tantalum is a complex, high tech metal of the future.
Tantalum and niobium processing can be difficult because the minerals are brittle, heavy and typically highly intergrown with sulphide and other oxide minerals. SGS has contributed to many tantalum projects over the years and can bring an integrated suite of services to tantalum and niobium exploration or development projects.
Early identification of the tantalum or niobium minerals in an ore as well as their deportment, textural associations and micro-chemical composition plays a critical role in determining a deposit’s amenability to metallurgical processing.
Mineralogical data provides the grain size and textural parameters needed to establish and optimise a metallurgical flowsheet. Depending this data, a variety of different separation strategies can be used to concentrate tantalum and niobium minerals, including grinding, conventional and centrifugal gravity separation, regular or high intensity magnetic separation and advanced flotation techniques.
SGS has the expertise, technologies and experience to provide practical, effective solutions to your tantalum and niobium processing challenges. Partner with us to develop a flowsheet that is optimised for your ore.