Photo Credit by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com
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.
Tantalum 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.
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. Niobium is also used to produce Superconducting 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. Coupled with the Tantalum use in renewable energy technology. Coltan has become a very highly valuable mineral of the future, especially with the steady expansion of the U.S. renewable energy sector.
Tantalum is the indispensable key for the world’s electronics industry. It is used for producing Tantalum 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. Tantalum is used in renewable energy technology including its use to manufacture batteries in electric vehicles. Additional uses include the manufacture of cutting tools, the increase of refractive indexes of glass lenses, the manufacture of cameras, and the lining for pipes, tanks, and vessels.
Tantalum also has extensive uses in medicine such as blood vessel support stents, manufacture surgical appliances, suture clips, and wires, capacitors for small electronic devices such as hearing aids and pacemakers, bone replacement therapy, and connecting torn nerves.
A very recent Coltan sample sent for analysis by Stalwart Ventures LLC, shows a very insignificant level of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) and high percentages of Tantalum and Niobium.
Stalwart Ventures has risen up to the challenge of meeting the increasing global demand for Coltan, especially to the growing need of the United States.