WHAT IS TANTALITE?
COLUMBITE & TANTALITE
Coltan is a dull metallic ore which consists of the elements Columbite and Tantalite, from which the minerals Tantalum and Niobium are extracted. Niobium is a lustrous grey, ductile metal with a relatively low density, high melting point and with superconductor properties.
Niobium is largely used by the steel industry, which uses a considerable percentage of the world’s produced Niobium to manufacture high strength low- alloy steels. Niobium is used in various super-alloys for applications in jet engines, air- and land- based turbines, rocket subassemblies, turbocharger systems and combustion equipment. It is also used to produce super-conducting magnets as in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instruments. Niobium is now being used to produce bio-diesel fuel from palm oil. It is coupled with the Tantalite use in renewable energy technology.
Tantalite is a dark blue-grey metal. It is a dense and very hard metal, easily malleable, with a high ductile strength. It has a very high conductivity to heat and electricity, and extremely resistant to acidic corrosion.
Tantalite is the indispensable key for the world’s electronics industry. The list of Tantalite’s uses in our daily activities, are extensive. It is used for producing Tantalite capacitors, which is a fundamental component of electronic products – mobile phones, gaming systems, MP3 players, computer hard drives and more. It is also used to produce Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) filters for mobile phones. Tantalite is used in renewable energy technology to manufacture batteries in electric vehicles. Additionally, it is used to manufacture cutting tools, increase refractive indexes of glass lenses, manufacture cameras, and as a lining for pipes, tanks, and vessels.
The medical industry has harnessed the effectiveness of Tantalite and uses it extensively for blood vessel support stents; manufacture surgical appliances, suture clips and wires; produce capacitors for small electronic devices such as hearing aids and pacemakers; bone replacement therapy and in connecting torn nerves.
Presently there is a high consumption of Nickel – Tantalite super-alloys for use in jet engines. However, this will likely significantly increase in this 21st century with increased orders for various airplanes - both commercial and private.
We cannot imagine our lives without technology. Tantalite is an essential mineral and will continue its vital role in our digital age. It is evident that Tantalite is here to stay.