8th World Antimony Forum

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12th Rare Earth Summit

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11th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

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13th World InBiGeGa Forum

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7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
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7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
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10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
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8th Magnesium Summit

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12th World InBiGeGa Forum

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Stefan Sefraoui: African Tantalum ore market faces tight supply and prices to increase in Q2
----Interview with Stefan Sefraoui, Director of CF Tantalum Ltd
CF Tantalum Ltd “CFT” which stand for Conflict Free Tantalum was incorporated in Rwanda to work hand on hand with our USA Company S&B Inter Inc.to supply 3T’s to our EPZ Processing Plant in Tanzania.
CFT has over 16 years’ experience trading and processing wide range of minerals in Africa ranging from Gold, Bauxite to Tantalum Ore. Our head Office is in NYC – USA, while our Africa base is both Rabat, Morocco and Kigali, Rwanda.

Asian Metal: Hello, Mr. Stefan Sefraoui, thanks for accepting this interview. First, could you please give us a brief induction to your company’s main business?

Stefan: CF Tantalum Ltd was created to run a compliance agency for our companies C4X Tanzania Ltd and S&B Inter (USA)from Rwanda. It was a strategic move to ensure our investors that we are dealing with Conflict Free minerals while having access to wide range of products in Rwanda supplying our EPZ Processing Factory in Tanzania.
Due to ever changing dynamics of the market of Tantalite since 2011, our company “C4X” decided to implement a strategy to run purchasing operation of Tantalite that goes hand on hand with local ASM’s and cooperatives both in Rwanda while expanding in Sierra Leone. Our aim remains local economic development targeting minorities groups while supplying Tantalite Ore in a very consistent base to our clients.
Due to market changes and dynamics since 2013, we have turned from trading company to a compliance company offering services and products to foreign buyers in Rwanda.

Asian Metal: What is your opinion about the African tantalum supply? Which area will produce more tantalum ore in the future?

Stefan: African tantalum supply is ready to go a notch-up to shape up positively the supply of Tantalite in the short and medium term. Local economies recognize the need to make available basic elements in term of structure, legalities, logistics, security and cutting out red tape to accommodate the needy investor who is a flight away to take his or her business somewhere else.
Rwanda got to be saluted for all their hard work, attracting FDI, reforming its mining code, Environmental Policies, Implementation of ITRI directives, security, infrastructure…etc. DRC is coming along and Year 2016 will remain a defining year in term of politics in the region – if we include here Burundi Crisis. So we will keep a close eye on supply coming from DRC and Rwanda in 2016 and not to forget Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Egypt. Very exiting year indeed!

Asian Metal: Do you think current tantalum price has hit the bottom?

Stefan: I certainly hope so! African miners learnt in 2015 that China is a major client and partner to Africa and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Funds to purchase and trade Ore maybe coming from Europe, USA and middle East. But final product is “almost” always destined to China for refining.
Miners suffered in the month leading up to this “Mineral Crisis” in 2015. They were a bit hesitant at first to swap Tantalite mining to Coffee plantations, Timber and Gold mining to put food on the table. We think it caused prices to bounce back up as we noticed an evidentshortage of material in late 2015.
In short, Prices reached a level where we think demand and supply settled some sort of equilibrium for the short and medium terms. Long run prices will depends on US Market. Scrap Tantalite won’t have an impact as we have seen as Ore demand sustained very well market downturn. We need the mines to re-open mines and produce material to sustain market demand hopefully at pricing level of around 70 and upward from now till May 2016.

Asian Metal: How about downstream demand from downstream industry in the world?

Stefan: Speaking from an African perspective, we noticed an increase in term of demand in January and Feb and we are certainly encouraged by the inquiries after Chinese New Year and we have making up the numbers of last year. We are cautiously optimistic and of course hoping for bigger demand going into April and May 2016.

Asian Metal: What is the biggest challenge for your company in the near future?

Stefan: Biggest challenge for our company in 2016 is putting people back to work at the mines, encouraging cooperatives to invest on machinery and equipment, lift morals of miners and start to believe on the market. We will have to take part of mining of Tantalite both in Rwanda and Congo in order to diversify our risks taking into account market current conditions. Finding the right partner to mine and offering its expertize on the ground will be key in order to secure long term sources.

Asian Metal: Does Dodd-Frank rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) influence African tantalum export market?

Stefan: Dodd-Frank Act is meant to protect investors and consumers from being tarnished with Conflict Minerals connections: The Act has put some order in term of supply territories and traceability. On the other hand, it has closed few mines and even areas in the DRC which can be huge supplier of Tantalite Ore.
Rwanda is leading up the way in term of reforms and investments in the mining sector and it has implemented these laws and regulations to increase its market share in the world market: Both countries will share lion share of the market supply of Tantalite Ore at 51% in 2016 and Dodd-Frank has helped in the long run organize mining productions to attract foreign investments.

Asian Metal: What are your advantages compared with other tantalum companies?

Stefan: We are THE miners’ company! Our company is playing leading role in term of identifying opportunities on the ground when it comes to 3T’s especially in East Africa. We recognize the fact that foreign investors tend to come to Africa full of excitement yet fail to understand basis elements to settle, understand, implement strategies before foreseeing profitable returns: We at CFT are happy to do all the dirty work knowing that our foreign partners will run very profitable operations from the get-go following our years of experiences on the ground.
From a socio economic stand point, we take it upon ourselves to serve local economies, hiring local people, getting first-hand experience how to deal with bureaucracy, licensing, safety, logistics….etc. We serve our clients bearing all the risks of performance in a risky environment yet very calculated from our side. Our supply is and will always be Conflict free and direct from the source.

Asian Metal: Would you like to talk about your long-term developing goals in the future?

Stefan: Our long term goals remain local communities and its development: It’s becoming a vital issue to address and without gender equality it is almost impossible to achieve. Women play major role in African economies and we need to include them in our strategies to fight poverty, encourage educations, healthcare development, Environment…etc. Foreign investors need to give local Cooperatives and ASM “Artisanal Small Miners” a hand to mine in a risk free environment whether by providing machinery, engineers, workshops…etc. Anything would do right now!

Asian Metal: Thank you for granting us this interview. We wish a better future for your company.

Stefan: Thank you Asian Metal for giving me this opportunity and I shall you soon!