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Old October 3rd, 2008, 12:13 AM
ryanrulz37 ryanrulz37 is offline
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There are different types of tantalum minerals, of which tantalite is the most important. But microlite, wodginite, euxenite, polycrase, samarskite and fergusonite are also tantalum minerals. Tantalite has the same mineral structure as columbite, and when there is more tantalum than niobite it is called tantalite, and when there is more niobite than tantalum it is called columbite or niobite. In Africa the two minerals are equally refered to as coltan, and according to the United States Geological Survey the Democratic Republic of Congo produced less than 1% of the world's tantalum for the past four years.

Currently by far the world's largest producer of tantalum is Australia, with Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia and Mozambique also producing significant quantities of tantalum. Tantalum is also produced in Thailand and Malaysia as a by-product of tin mining and smelting. Other future sources of tantalum may be found in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greenland, the USA and Finland.
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