Brazil’s Mineração Taboca has announced that its Pitinga operations resumed production on 1May.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company, owned by Peruvian tin and gold miner Minsur, had suspended activities at its Pitinga tin mine and tantalum/niobium smelter on 1 April. Originally planned to last for 15 days, the shutdown was extended until the end of the month.
Although it is primarily a tin producer, Taboca also supplies co-product tantalum and niobium in the form of ferroniobium for the steel industry and a FeNb-Ta alloy that is unique to the company. Although it is a minor producer of ferroniobium, it is one of the largest suppliers of tantalum after the artisanal mining sector in Central Africa, with output of about 225tpy Ta2O5 equivalent, or more than 10% of Roskill’s estimate for global mine production in 2019.
The restart is likely to be welcome news in the tantalum market, as supply from Central Africa has been disrupted by enforced mine closures aimed at limiting the transmission of COVID-19, along with logistical bottlenecks, and it is always possible that the virus could spread far beyond the relatively small number of cases that have been reported to date.
Roskill’s NEW Tantalum: Outlook to 2029, 15th Edition report was published in March 2020 and details trends in tantalum production, consumption, trade and prices, as well as profiling the major industry players. A new update focusing on the effects of COVID-19 within the tantalum industry will be available to subscribers in June. For more information or to subscribe, click here.