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Open-File Report 2013–1239

An Exploration in Mineral Supply Chain Mapping Using Tantalum as an Example

By Yadira Soto-Viruet, W. David Menzie, John F. Papp, and Thomas R. Yager

Thumbnail of report PDF (1.23 MB)


This report uses the supply chain of tantalum (Ta) to investigate the complexity of mineral and metal supply chains in general and show how they can be mapped. A supply chain is made up of all the manufacturers, suppliers, information networks, and so forth, that provide the materials and parts that go into making up a final product. The mineral portion of the supply chain begins with mineral material in the ground (the ore deposit); extends through a series of processes that include mining, beneficiation, processing (smelting and refining), semimanufacture, and manufacture; and continues through transformation of the mineral ore into concentrates, refined mineral commodities, intermediate forms (such as metals and alloys), component parts, and, finally, complex products. This study analyses the supply chain of tantalum beginning with minerals in the ground to many of the final goods that contain tantalum.

First posted September 25, 2013

For additional information contact:
National Minerals Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey
991 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Soto-Viruet, Yadira, Menzie, W.D., Papp, J.F., and Yager, T.R., 2013, An exploration in mineral supply chain mapping using tantalum as an example: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1239, 51 p.,


Physical Properties of Tantalum

World Mine Production

Tantalum Refined Products and End Uses

Production of Mined Tantalum Minerals

Tantalum Processing Plants

Supply Chain for Tantalum

Tantalum Capacitors

Discussion and Conclusions

References Cited

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