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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Sutton, Joseph A.
Columbium and tantalum,   pp. 461-471 ff. PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 461

  461Columbium and Tantalum 
By Joseph A. Sutton1 
 The 1972 demand for co-lumbium and tantalum in steelmaking continued an
upward trend that began in 1968, For steelmaking purposes consumption of
ferrocolumbium (FeCb), ferrotantalum-columbiurn (FeTa—Cb), and other
columbium and tantalum materials totaled 2.9 million pounds in 1972. The
primary use of these materials was for the production of high strength-low
alloy steels. During the year while imports of columbium mineral concentrates
and the price of columbium raw materials in the forms of columbite and pyrochlore
concentrates were increasing, approximately 2.3 -million pounds of combined
pentoxides were awarded to industry from Government stocks. The primary use
of tantalum continued to be for capacitors 
in the electronics industry. The chemical industry for the first time used
large sheets of thin-gage tantalum to make pressure vessels that were to
be used in the KelChlor process for recovering chlorine from byproduct hydrogen
chloride. 
 Legislation and Government Programs. 
—During 1972 the Office of Minerals Exploration (OME), U.S. Geological
Survey, continued to offer financial assistance of 50% (columbium) and 75%
(tantalum) of costs for exploration of approved columbium and tantalum resources.
 The General Services Administration (GSA) continued its columbium disposal
program and sold to industry 1,857,382 pounds of columbium and 380,209 pounds
1 Physical scientist, Division of Ferrous Metals. 
Table 1.--Salient columbium statistics 
(Thousan 
d pounds) 
1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 
United States: 
Mine production of columbite-tantalite concentrates                     
Releases from Government stocks 
(Cbcontent)"                     
Consumption of concentrate: Columbium metal contained in all raw materials
consumed(Cbcontent)2                  
Production of primary products: 
Columbium metal (Cb content)        Ferrocolumbium and ferrotantalum-columbium
(Cb+Ta content)          
Consumption of primary products: 
Columbium metal (Cb content)        Ferrocolumbium and ferrotantalumcolumbium(Cb+Tacontent)
Exports: Columbium metal, compounds, and alloys (gross weight)          
Imports for consumption: 
Columbium mineral concentrate (gross weight)                      
Columbium metal and columbium-bearing alloys (Cb content)               
Ferrocolumbium (gross weight)'        
 Tin slags (Cb content) ~            World: Production of columbium-tontalum
concentrates (gross weight)                   
W 
' 1,505 
3,997 
W 
2,380 
92 
3,094 
7 
3,657 
1 
1,171 
378 
23,857 
W 
' 1,810 
2,918 
W 
2,554 
179 
3,328 
41 
4,161 
5 
NA 
454 
31,451 
0 
' 1,042 
3,289 
W 
1,430 
261 
2,591 
46 
5,719 
2 
NA 
498 
45,149 
5 - - 
36 
2,346 
W 
1,020 
459 
2,880 
21 
3,054 
1 
NA 
526 
24,014 
 779 
2,489 
W 
1,480 
218 
3,676 
29 
3,227 
1 
NA 
547 
34,953 
W Wit 
hheld to av 
oid disclosin 
g individual 
company 
 ' Estimate. ' Revised. NA Not available. confidential data. 
' Revised to none. 
5lncludes columbium content in raw materials from which columbium is not
recovered. 
3lncludes material released as payment-in-kind for upgrading. 
4Receipts reported by consumers. 


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