"Supply Chain" refers to everything related to responsible sourcing of tantalum minerals, including the application of due diligence, in particular when sourcing from conflict-affected or high-risk areas. The T.I.C.’s work on what we call the “supply chain”, includes a number of sub-topics such as responsible sourcing and artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). The scope of our “supply chain” work is global, with the principles of responsible sourcing firmly based on the “OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas”. The T.I.C. has collaborated with the OECD since 2009 and helped in the drafting of these due diligence guidelines.
TRANSPORT OF NORM
Niobium and tantalum raw materials can contain low levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), typically thorium (Th) and uranium (U) associated with the mineral matrix. It is generally not possible to separate the Th/U easily from these minerals; pyrochlore alone is treated by aluminothermic reduction near the minesite and the Th/U is removed to waste. To extract niobium and tantalum from columbite, tantalite and tin slag requires specialised digestion in e.g. hot acid HF/H2SO4 which is conducted by processors far from the minesites, before the Th/U can be removed. Transport is therefore required by sea from the mines to the processors, with these materials being handled as Class 7, LSA-I. There has been a growing problem with the perception of Class 7 transport by carriers and some authorities.
ASK AN EXPERT
To better serve the tantalum and niobium industries, the T.I.C. has developed "Ask an Expert", a service that allows both members and non-members to ask technical questions to the Association. How to submit your question: To ask your question relating to tantalum and niobium simply contact the T.I.C. through our website. All questions will be responded to via e-mail. The response time will depend on the complexity of the question, but is typically 5 working days.