This report uses the supply chain of tantalum (Ta) to investigate the complexity of mineral and metal supply chains in general and show how they can be mapped. A supply chain is made up of all the manufacturers, suppliers, information networks, and so forth, that provide the materials and parts that go into making up a final product. The mineral portion of the supply chain begins with mineral material in the ground (the ore deposit); extends through a series of processes that include mining, beneficiation, processing (smelting and refining), semimanufacture, and manufacture; and continues through transformation of the mineral ore into concentrates, refined mineral commodities, intermediate forms (such as metals and alloys), component parts, and, finally, complex products. This study analyses the supply chain of tantalum beginning with minerals in the ground to many of the final goods that contain tantalum.
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USGS Numbered Series
An exploration in mineral supply chain mapping using tantalum as an example