Integrated tantalum producer put on the market by parent company, Resource Capital Funds (RCF).
Private equity firm, RCF, has announced that it has placed Global Advanced Metals (GAM) up for sale. GAM is a vertically integrated supplier of tantalum products, from the mining and processing of ore into concentrates, to the manufacturing of powder and metallurgical products. The news of GAM’s listing follows the gradual strategic divestment of its Western Australian lithium interests – Greenbushes, Wodgina, Pilgangoora and, more recently, the Tabba Tabba project to Wildcat Resources. Significantly for these operations, GAM retains certain production and purchasing rights to the tantalum extracted during the mining of lithium-bearing spodumene.
This arrangement has made GAM the lowest-cost producer of tantalum globally as it piggybacks on Australia’s rise in the lithium industry. Australia is contributing to growing volumes of tantalum as a by-product, with ramp-ups at existing operations (through GAM) anticipated by Project Blue to keep the market balanced through to 2026.
Tantalum is a speciality metal that boosts conductivity and is highly resistant to heat and corrosion. Because of its anti-corrosion, and heat resistant/thermal stability properties, tantalum is used in semiconductors and capacitors so demand for the metal is anticipated to increase in line with the growth in mobile devices and telecommunications infrastructure. Prices of tantalum concentrate have picked up over the past few months, averaging US$77/lb Ta2O5 as surplus material from Central Africa in 2022 has kept the market well balanced.
GAM’s Australian tantalum represents a growing source of guaranteed ‘conflict-free’ material. The metal is one of the 3TG elements (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) which are so-called ‘conflict minerals’.