- > Columbite-Tantalite
Columbite-Tantalite is a dull metallic ore found in major quantities in the Eastern areas of the DR Congo. When refined, Columbite-Tantalite becomes metallic Tantalum, a heat-resistant powder that can hold a high electrical charge.
Columbite (Fe, Mn, Mg)(Nb, Ta)2O6: Iron Manganese Magnesium Niobium Tantalum Oxide) is the most abundant niobium mineral and is used in alloys for improved strength. Also known as Niobium, it also has shown potential superconductive properties and is being used in studies with other metals for possible breakthroughs in the manufacturing of superconductive alloys.
Tantalite (Fe, Mn)(Ta, Nb)2O6: Iron Manganese Tantalum Niobium Oxide) is the most widespread tantalum mineral and makes for an important ore of the industrially useful metal. Tantalum (Ta) is a gray, heavy and extremely hard metal. When pure, it is ductile and can be drawn into fine wire, which is used as a filament for evaporating metals such as aluminum. Tantalum is almost completely immune to chemical reaction at low temperatures (sub-150 degrees C) and is reactive only with hydrofluoric acid, acidic solutions containing the fluoride ion, and free sulfur trioxide. At higher temperatures, Tantalum becomes much more reactive though it has a melting point exceeded only by Tungsten and Rhenium. Tantalum is used to make a variety of alloys with desirable properties such as extremely high melting points, extreme strength, good ductility, etc. Tantalum has good “gettering” ability at high temperatures and tantalum oxide films are stable with good rectifying and dielectric properties.
Columbite-Tantalite is used to manufacture electronic capacitors used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers.
It is also used in the production of steel varieties having high heat tolerances, like those used in the engines of aircraft. Whereas it was formerly only asecondary product of the exploitation of Tin, Tantalum has become today, on the basis of its specific characteristics, a very sought-after element.