H.C. Starck will continue to meet Tantalum demand

Goslar, November 26, 2008 - The H.C. Starck Group announced today that it regrets the decision of Talison Minerals Pty. Ltd. to suspend mining at the world's largest tantalum operation in Wodgina, Australia in early December 2008.

"We have known Talison as a reliable supplier for many years, always selling its tantalum in compliance with recognized social, legal, ethical, safety and environmental standards", said Dr. John van Put, General Manager of H.C. Starck's Electronics and Optics Business Group. "As Wodgina has supplied more than 30 percent of the world's tantalum so far in 2008, the repercussions on tantalum prices are predictable".

Talison's decision is clearly driven by the downturn in worldwide demand for consumer electronics, a major user of tantalum products. Besides the present crisis the strong trend to reduce costs in the electronics supply chain impacted the tantalum market, leading to increasing tantalum supplies from the crisis area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. "It is clear that at the current spot prices, reputable companies like Talison cannot compete with unscrupulous traders offering little economic benefit to small miners or the local population", said H.C. Starck's CEO Dr. Heinz Heumüller.

Dr. van Put went on to say that his company has sufficient stocks and supply channels to meet the foreseeable needs of its customers, in particular, because of its backward integration relying on scrap recycling.

In spite of Talisons’s production termination H.C. Starck will continue to offer materials of high quality exclusively based on tantalum obtained from reputable sources, like Talison. "Clearly, the industry will see price increases as the significant effects cannot be absorbed by the supply base alone", said Dr. van Put.

H.C. Starck GmbH
Manfred Bütefisch 
General Manager
Corporate Communications 
38642 Goslar/Germany
P: +49/5321 751 3153
F: +49/5321 751 4153
M: +49/160 886 09 53