Tantalum has earned its reputation as a superlative material with virtually limitless potential purposes. Often alloyed with various other metals, this distinctive resource proves both heat-adverse and resistant to corrosive entities for optimal strength and durability. These features, when combined with pinnacle oxidation assets, makes mining tantalite an ideal material for an extensive litany of uses that range from electronic applications all the way through to medical devices such as suture clips, skull plates and more. While corporate entities have long attempted for find a suitable alternative to tantalite, their efforts have often yielded inferior results.
Despite such a comprehensive list of functions, fluxuating tantalum prices can play a heavy hand in the distribution and accessibility of this important resource. If your business relies on the columbite-tantalite mining industry, you recognize firsthand that the recently soaring tantalum prices of recent years, coupled with inaccessibility of the material, have made a huge impact on commercial use of this metal. While there's certainly no crystal ball when it comes to precisely pinpointing exactly where the pendulum will swing with tantalite cost points, there are some telltale factors that can help corporations plan their pipelines and budgets accordingly.
Yes, availability and desire always contribute heavily in the price points of any material or resource. However, the columbite-tantalite mining sector certainly saw some major and unexpected upticks in value throughout the 2011 fiscal year. Consumer demand, slightly lower availability, conflict regions gorging the marketplace, as well as the unveiling of an extensive array of electronic notepads and various smart phones that relied on this metal created a perfect commercial storm for a cost hike and the metal saw its peak at $150 per pound before year end.
Such an inconsistent fluxuation had business owners wondering what 2012 held in store for them as they anxiously waited and watched the year unfurl. Fortunately, tantalum prices demonstrated a more stable consistency. Supply increased to meet demand, causing the cost to tumble from the 2011 high and slowly rise again, leveling off at the current price of roughly $110 a pound.
What can businesses expect for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013 from this remarkable resource? According to industry insiders, the cost of this metal is likely to increase over the next 18 months based on several critical factors. First, during the 2011 spike, organizations struggled to find less expensive alternatives to tantalite, with very limited success. This means that while lower end technologies may include these subpar quality materials, the industry giants focused on protecting brand integrity will continue to integrate this superior metal into their product line.
Additionally, the influx of consumer use of tablets and smartphones is consistently on the rise. This increase in use not only assures the demand for this material but also virtually guarantees a consumer cost escalation at some point in the process. However, it is not expected to follow the volatile surge of 2011. Fortunately, most experts agree that while tantalum prices will rise, factors like the presence of Costa Rica and other conflict-free mining regions will help keep this upswing consistently steady; eventually leveling off for sustained overall value for business owners operating in any industry.