WALTHAM, Mass. & PERTH, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Global Advanced Metals (GAM), the world’s leading integrated and conflict-free provider of tantalum products, announces that it has commenced the process to start direct tantalum mining operations at its Greenbushes Mine assets in Western Australia, commencing within the next 12 months.
Currently GAM exercises the Company’s rights to receive tantalum extracted by Talison Lithium during active lithium bearing spodumene mining operations at Greenbushes.
GAM has prepared and submitted to Talison Lithium a formal Mine Development Plan outlining how mining tantalum at Greenbushes can commence in the next 12 months.
Greenbushes is located in the south west region of Western Australia and for decades was a significant source of the world’s tantalum supply. GAM plans to redevelop its Greenbushes assets, combining the planned tantalum mining operations with further processing of tantalum derived as a by-product of lithium mining in Western Australia, into the world’s largest single source of tantalum to supply its substantial downstream manufacturing facilities in the USA and Japan.
“Greenbushes is central to our Australian tantalum development strategy as we restore Western Australia’s position as a major supply hub in the global tantalum market,” said GAM CEO Andrew O’Donovan. “As an integrated processor and supplier of tantalum products to the electronics, aerospace, medical and other industries, a long term and reliable primary source of tantalum supply is key to providing stability assurance to our direct customers and further downstream end users.”
Mr O’Donovan said GAM was acutely aware of the need to carefully manage concurrent lithium and tantalum operations in the same mining area.
“The separation of exploration rights for different minerals has become commonplace in Western Australia to facilitate mining development and we expect concurrent mining of separate interests at Greenbushes to become a showpiece of how this co-mining can be managed,” he said.
“A large part of our focus in the development of the Greenbushes tantalum mine plan is ensuring employee and environmental safety while maximising tantalum production and the royalty revenue and jobs it will create for Western Australia.”
Greenbushes is located in the South West region of Western Australia and is a well-known major lithium and tantalum production site. Talison Lithium currently undertakes mining operations for its own lithium and GAM’s tantalum.
Talison Lithium is owned 51% by Chinese company Tianqi Lithium Industries, Inc. (SZSE:002466) with the remaining 49% held by US-based Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB). Talison Lithium holds only the lithium rights at Greenbushes, with all other mineral rights reserved to GAM under an agreement between the two companies. The same agreement sets out circumstances under which Talison Lithium may no longer be the sole operator at the mine. The principal mineral present at Greenbushes besides lithium is tantalum.
About Global Advanced Metals (GAM)
A leading conflict-free tantalum producer, GAM has exclusive rights to the world’s largest industrial resources of tantalum ore located in Western Australia.
GAM produces conflict-free tantalum powders and metallurgical products at its downstream processing plants in Pennsylvania, USA and Aizu, Japan for a range of critical applications in industries including electronics, aerospace, automotive, medical and chemical processing.
GAM’s smelting facilities in Japan and the USA were first declared “Conflict-Free” in 2010 under Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) audit program, and continue to maintain this status.
Approximately 40% of tantalum is used in the manufacture of tantalum capacitors, small battery-like components found in many high volume electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and other consumer devices, as well as in the powertrain or safety management control devices of automobiles. Tantalum capacitors are used where the greatest amount of performance is required from the smallest possible package and / or where long term reliability (often in harsh operating environments) is essential. Other uses for tantalum include semiconductor manufacture (15% of use) and as a super alloy in the manufacture of aircraft and wind turbine engine blades (20%).