Tantalum (Ta), a refractory group metal, is used for various applications in the critical sectors. The main forms are metal powder, oxide and carbide. The main application of the metal powder is in electronic industries as tantalum capacitor. Tantalum capacitor is one of the most important driving force in the spectacular development of Information Technology due to its superior data storage capacity in minimum volumetric space and higher reliability in severe temperature and other conditions. Today almost all cell phones, super computers, automobiles, pagers & other electronic data storage and data transfer devices use capacitors made out of tantalum due to its high reliability as compared to any other capacitor material. Tantalum is also used in medical implants due to its non-toxic & non reactive nature. Tantalum pentoxide and tantalum niobium carbide are used in tool industries. In the world, tantalum technology is available with three companies, namely, M/s Cabot corporation, M/s H C Starck, Germany and M/s Ningxia Non-ferrous Metals Smelter, China. The total world consumption of tantalum in different forms is approximately 5.0 million pounds out of which 60% of the consumption is in the capacitor grade powder. The approximate consumption of tantalum in India is around 20 Tons out of which capacitor grade powder & wire requirement is around 500 kg. The Tantalum ore is available in India as tantalite-culombite ore in mines of Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka, etc. Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER) is the sole controlling agency for the ore in India as this ore falls under classified list, which has to be stockpiled for nuclear applications.
C-MET, has developed capacitor grade tantalum powder The electrical properties viz. CV value (15,000-16,000 mF.V/gm) and DC leakage (<0.0005 mA/mF.V) of the C-MET tantalum powder were comparable to imported powder. The structural grade Ta powder was developed during the process development while tantalum pentoxide and tantalum niobium carbide were the other off shoots.. C-MET had supplied 35 kg of structural grade tantalum powder to DMRL (DRDO lab), Hyderabad and 4 kg of high purity tantalum pentoxide to VSSC (ISRO) for various end uses.
The tantalum powder, tantalum pentoxide and tantalum-niobium carbide technologies were transferred to M/s. Anabond Private Limited, Chennai on non-exclusive basis for commercial production.