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Dynamic material flow analysis of tantalum in the United States from 2002 to 2020

November 25, 2022

Tantalum has received considerable attention due to risks associated with its supply chain. In 2020 ∼70% of global tantalum supply originated in Africa, with 40% produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. The United States has relied entirely on imports since the 1950s. However, quantifying total domestic consumption is problematic because refined tantalum compounds do not have unique tariff codes resulting in significant trade volumes not properly documented. Furthermore, tantalum incorporated into finished goods is not tracked as tantalum. Thus, estimates only capture a fraction of total consumption. We performed a material flow analysis to quantify total domestic tantalum consumption from 2002 to 2020. Our results indicate that consumption may be up to 250% more than previously estimated. Our detailed results allow quantification of tantalum stocks in-use as well as coming out of use any year, providing valuable insight to industry and policymakers for addressing potential supply security issues.

Publication Year 2022
Title Dynamic material flow analysis of tantalum in the United States from 2002 to 2020
DOI 10.1016/j.resconrec.2022.106783
Authors Abraham J. Padilla, Nedal T. Nassar
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Resources, Conservation & Recycling
Index ID 70238621
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Minerals Information Center