Australians study tantalum and niobium deposit

The Australian company Gippsland Limited has embarked on a feasibility study for its Abu Dabbab tantalite project in Egypt. The project is estimated to cost USD 30 million to implement, but will produce a net revenue for Gippsland of USD 239 million over 15 years.
Over the past two decades, new applications for tantalum have been discovered on a regular basis. Gippsland believes that tantalum is a metal of the future with research for new applications ongoing. Since the mid 1990s significant metallurgical advances have been achieved, especially in respect to enhancements in gravity separation techniques. These advances have opened Abu Dabbab-style ores to successful processing in mining operations in Australia and internationally.
The Abu Dabbab deposit is located about 770km south of Cairo in the Red Sea. The deposit is exploitable as a low-cost open-pit bulk mining operation and has the potential to make Gippsland the world’s second largest producer of tantalum pentoxide. A recent scoping study was based on a mining rate of 1 million tons/annum over 15 years. The mine’s life is expected to extend over a much longer period. This would give an annual production of 196,000 kilograms of tantalum pentoxide, 91,000 kilograms of niobium pentoxide, 524 tons of tin, and 480,000 tons of ceramic grade felspar. There is the possibility of expanding future ore production rates to 2 million tons/annum.
Applications of tantalum and niobium include circuitry, chemicals, aircraft engines and spacecraft.

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