Coltan: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tantalum

Topics: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tantalum, Coltan Pages: 2 (596 words) Published: December 7, 2011
Tantalum is an extremely hard and dense element that is highly resistant to corrosion. It has a very high melting point and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is a rare and valuable metal in huge demand in today’s high technology industries because of its ability to hold high electric charges. Tantalum is an extremely hard and dense element that is highly resistant to corrosion. It has a very high melting point and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is a rare and valuable metal in huge demand in today’s high technology industries because of its ability to hold high electric charges. The electronics industry is by far the biggest consumer of Coltan. The cost and technology involved in sourcing Coltan are low, particularly when it is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Africa. There are other places on the world where tantalum can be found. Russia for instance is rich in the resource but has not exploited their deposits. Australia produces about 60% of the world’s tantalum, but the world’s largest reserves are in the DRC. In fact, in 2002 Africa accounted for four-fifths of the world’s tantalum. The electronics industry is by far the biggest consumer of Coltan. The cost and technology involved in sourcing Coltan are low, particularly when it is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Africa. There are other places on the world where tantalum can be found. Russia for instance is rich in the resource but has not exploited their deposits. Australia produces about 60% of the world’s tantalum, but the world’s largest reserves are in the DRC. In fact, in 2002 Africa accounted for four-fifths of the world’s tantalum.

The extraction of Coltan is a process that heavily influences the surrounding environment. Coltan is found in high concentration within the boundaries of Kahuzi Biega National Park, home to a rich tropical forest ecosystem as well as the endangered mountain gorilla. Coltan stocks are also obtained...
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