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Seminole Group - Tantalum

Tantalum is used in Computers, Cell Phones, and Medical Devices

The combination of columbite and tantalite make for the slang term “coltan.” In the mining industry it is known as columbite, tantalite, Ta 205, and tantalum. This mineral is a dull, black, metallic like, mineral that is mined in places such as Australia, South America, and Africa. This mineral is also known as coltan, which is the African name for the metallic ore. Coltan can be refined to produce the elements niobium and tantalum.

Tantalum is an exceptionally hard, gray, metallic element obtained from the minerals tantalite, euxenite, samarskite and fergusonite. It is produced in Australia, South America, Africa and Canada. It is also produced in Thailand and Malaysia as a byproduct of tin smelting. This element was first isolated in 1820 by the Swedish chemist Jons Berzelius, who is considered to be one of the fathers of modern chemistry. Tantalum is extraordinarily resistant to chemical attack below 150*C and has a melting point exceeded only by tungsten and rhenium. It is classified as a Transition Metal, meaning it is ductile, malleable and able to conduct heat and electricity. Tantalum is mainly used in powder form in the production of electronic capacitors. It is also used to make light bulb filaments, automotive electronics, jet engine components, personal computers, camera lenses and medical equipment. Isolating tantalum from other minerals is a complicated process. Tantalum minerals almost always contain niobium, a mineral that’s chemical properties are almost identical to tantalum. Therefore separating the two minerals can be very difficult.