Talison Tantalum eyes mid-2011 Wodgina restart

Wed Jun 9, 2010 3:11pm GMT

* Sees demand rising, prices to top $100

* Says inventories still high as traders hold back stock

By Michael Taylor

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Australian miner Talison Tantalum said it was considering restarting its Wodgina mine, formerly the world's top producer, in mid-2011 on expectations of higher demand and rising prices.

The mine in northwest Australia in late 2008 suspended production of tantalum, which is used in aerospace and computer manufacturing, due to a combination of oversupply and reduced demand in the global economic downturn. [ID:nSYD479828]

"My gut feeling is that bringing it (back) in ... might now be pulled forward by six months," Bryan Ellis, head of marketing at privately held Talison Tantalum told Reuters on Wednesday.

Ellis said the initial target date had been 2012, although last September a Talison spokesman said the company planned to to restart production in mid-2010. [ID:nSYD479828]

Ellis said he expected global demand for tantalum to recover next year to the 2007 level of 6 million pounds, after falling to about 4 million lbs in 2008 and 2009, and then to continue climbing as demand from the electronics industry grows.   Continued...

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