Global Advanced Metals (ASX:GAM) has resumed operations at its Wodgina mine located in Western Australia.
The company was formerly known as Talison Tantalum. Before production was halted in 2008 due to the global financial crisis the mine in question was among the top tantalum producers in the world.
Tantalum, a rare, hard, blue-gray, lustrous transition metal, is used to manufacture iPods and BlackBerry smart phones and a wide range of other hi tech products. The tantalum supply chain saw so called conflicted supply from the Democratic Republic of Congo. There was also a drop in the prices per lb and so the company with market conditions now improving since late 2010 has decided to re-open the mine.
There are plans to mine 700,000 lb/ year from Wodgina and have it processed at Greenbushes as per the Chief Executive officer Bryan Ellis. He also said that there had been strong growth in all sectors of tantalum demand and stockpiles are rapidly diminishing, with Global Advanced Metals the only producer able to fill the supply chain quickly.
The unlisted mining company has been working closely with electronics companies and supporting international government efforts to remove the conflict mined material from the supply chain. The industry is now looking for ethically mined tantalum from other sources than Congo.