The finalization of conflict minerals rules seems to have again heightened concerns about tantalum sourcing. This caution is having an effect on tantalum prices in several ways. The scrap supply, which sees less regulation, continues to apply pressure to the primary supply market. Metal-Pages recently reported that in Europe $500/kg tantalum is up against CP scrap tantalum priced at $470/kg.
There is reportedly resistance to Ta205 prices around the $130/lb level, though prices are reportedly in the $125 to $135/lb range. For new suppliers and smaller suppliers, the resistance is greater. These market participants are finding that the deals they are closing are around the $100/lb level or less.
Some would argue that these lower levels are about where the market should be as there is plenty of metal and little appetite for stockpiling.