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Fact Sheet 2014–3122

Conflict Minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo—Global Tantalum Processing Plants, a Critical Part of the Tantalum Supply Chain

By John F. Papp

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.5 MB)Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) analyzes mineral and metal supply chains to identify and describe major components of mineral and metal material flows from ore extraction, through intermediate forms, to a final product. Supply chain analyses may be used (1) to identify risks to the United States associated with the supply of critical and strategic minerals and metals and (2) to provide greater supply chain transparency so that policymakers have the fact-based information needed to formulate public policy. This fact sheet focuses on the post-mining/pre-consumer-product part of the tantalum supply chain. The USGS National Minerals Information Center (NMIC) has been asked by governmental and non-governmental organizations to provide information about tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold (collectively known as “3TG minerals”) processing facilities worldwide in response to U.S. legislation aimed at identifying and removing the supply chain links between the trade in these minerals and civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjacent countries.

Post-beneficiation processing plants (generally called smelters and refineries) for 3TG mineral ores and concentrates were identified by company and industry association representatives as being the link in the 3TG mineral supply chain through which these minerals can be traced to their source of origin (mine). The determination of the source of origin is critical to the development of a complete and transparent conflict-free mineral supply chain. Tungsten processing plants were the subject of the first fact sheet in this series published by USGS NMIC in August 2014. Background information about historical conditions and multinational stakeholders’ voluntary due diligence guidance for minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas is presented in the tungsten fact sheet. This fact sheet, the second in a series about 3TG minerals, focuses on the tantalum supply chain by listing selected processors that produced tantalum materials commercially worldwide during 2013–14. It does not provide any information regarding the sources of material processed in these facilities.

First posted December 29, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, National Minerals Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
988 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

Or visit the USGS Minerals Information Web site at

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Suggested citation:

Papp, J.F., 2014, Conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo—Global tantalum processing plants, a critical part of the tantalum supply chain: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014–3122, 4 p.,

ISSN 2327-6916 (print)

ISSN 2327-6932 (online)

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