Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   Tantalum in the real world 21st century (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=7774)

alanb April 23rd, 2004 07:43 AM

Here is some stuff about Tantalum in the real world. It's not nice. Please avoid flame wars about all this.

This is an excerpt from:
"Victim’s Licence
Our fairytale version of Rwanda's genocide has allowed us to overlook the
government's own crimes against humanity
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 13th April 2004"
...
"By 1999, the "Congo Desk" of the Rwandan army was generating 80% of the
Rwandan military budget - some $320 million. This is the equivalent of 20%
of Rwanda's gross national product.2 The money came principally from two
sources: diamonds and coltan. Coltan is the ore from which tantalum, the
expensive metal used in mobile phones, is extracted, and almost all of it
comes from the DRC.

Sixty to seventy per cent of the coltan exported from the eastern Democratic
Republic of the Congo, the United Nations reported in 2002, has been mined
"under the direct surveillance" of the Rwandan army. Most of the rest was
produced by subcontractors and companies answerable to the army or to other
departments of the Rwandan government.3 Kagame's people, in other words, had
a near-monopoly on global coltan production."

duran.goodyear April 23rd, 2004 06:35 PM

if anything this creates some excellent places to adventure around.

how valuable is the resource, vs the value of the animal/plant/human life around it.

enviromentalism, vs commercialism...

I suspect earth is a pretty damaged place after 300 years of high industry catching up all over the 3rd world.

Though... with the ability to mine asteroid fields, it almost becomes un nessisary to mine planets anymore. I heard somewhere, and I'm completly lacking any source to back me up, so I am not sure how accurate it is... but that there are rocks in our own solar system, that have trillions of dollars worth of iron ore... let alone much more valuable minerals such as tantalum...

And, its a lot cheaper to move things down the gravity well, then it is back up...

RainOfSteel April 23rd, 2004 09:19 PM

Quote:

duran.goodyear wrote:

Though... with the ability to mine asteroid fields, it almost becomes un nessisary to mine planets anymore. I heard somewhere, and I'm completly lacking any source to back me up, so I am not sure how accurate it is... but that there are rocks in our own solar system, that have trillions of dollars worth of iron ore... let alone much more valuable minerals such as tantalum...

But just try to find that asteriod with a rare earth or valuable heavy metal out amongst all that empty space.

Iron/Nickel, that might be easier. I bet the first people to seriously go into space will stake claims on the big asteriods and then just hope for multiple ores being present.

rfmcdpei April 24th, 2004 05:35 PM

In the Earth/Cyberpunk Sorucebook, the Central Asian Republic is described as prospecting for tantalum-rich asteroids, hoping to find enough tantalum to make it rich.

Malenfant April 24th, 2004 08:49 PM

Tantalum would be very rare in asteroids - it's pretty rare on Earth. So there'd be no such thing as a "tantalum asteroid" - if you're lucky you might find something that contains a tiny, trace amount, but chemical processes that concentrate minerals in the crusts of planets just wouldn't occur on asteroids (unless perhaps they're very big, like Ceres).

The best place to look for more Tantalum would be on a full-blown planet.

(More info on Tantalum and its uses and abundances can be found at the WebElements site ).


The same goes for Lanthanum (used in Traveller for jump drives), for that matter.

TKalbfus April 25th, 2004 01:49 PM

What if the asteroid was part of a shattered planet?

RainOfSteel April 25th, 2004 04:18 PM

And in the OTU, a great many asteroid belts are shattered worlds.

But prospecting would be a matter of going around with a mass-spectrometer scope (of the kind in use today by the USGS) looking for surface indications of Tantalum ore, or surface indications of something that might indicate the presence of Tantalum ore. Oh yes, and probably a densitometer, too.

Also, in a shattered world remnant asteroid belt, left over core fragments might have a radically different makeup than crustal fragments.

Malenfant April 25th, 2004 08:02 PM

Technically, this is the problem with shattering worlds anyway - you'd never be able to shatter them so much that they'd spread around the whole orbit of the planet. You'd break it into chunks sure, but after a while it'd just reform back together again. To turn a planet into an asteroid belt, you need to find a way to (a) spread the bits out over the entire orbit of the planet and (b) keep the bits from ever reforming. The problem with the latter is that if such an influence is there (probably a nearby gas giant disrupting the belt, as with our belt), then the planet wouldn't have formed in the first place.

But this is another one of those niggly realism things that Traveller ignores anyway. [img]smile.gif[/img]

rfmcdpei April 25th, 2004 11:05 PM

Or you get Grandfather involved. Playing with asteroid impacts, I found that accelerating (say) Ceres to a substantial fraction of lightspeed and throwing it at a garden world would be a good way of shattering that unfortunate globe.

Malenfant April 26th, 2004 01:45 AM

The Earth basically got 'shattered' when the mars-sized protoplanet hit it to form the Moon... and it reformed.

Lobbing Ceres - or any big asteroid - at several thousand km/s at a planet would probably just vaporise or utterly annihilate everything. There wouldn't be any rubble left, given the energies involved.

Like I said, it's not enough to just 'break' the planet - you have to somehow spread the material throughout the entire orbit - which can be a HUGE area of space (the circumference of a 1 AU orbit is nearly a billion km) - and also prevent it from reforming eventually (since the bits will eventually start to collide, which will make bigger bits, which will pull more bits in because they're more massive, which will make bigger bits, etc etc).

Even if you could do that, the crust - which is probably where elements like Tantalum or Lanthanum would be concentrated - is only a tiny portion of the volume of a planet. The chance of you encountering an asteroid that was formerly part of the crust would be extremely low compared to finding one that was once in the mantle or core of the planet.


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