Coltan Information, History and Uses in Electronics
I have had several questions from readers asking “What is Coltan”? The reason people have asked this is in regards to the article I wrote talking about the use of Coltan in the Sony Playstation.
So I wanted to follow-up with a brief article that answers some of these questions.
Coltan is the name of a metallic ore called “columbite-tantalite”. Two key minerals can be extracted from Coltan. These minerals are niobium and tantalum. Tantalum is used in the production of many types of consumer electronics ranging from cell phones, dvd players, computers and even the Sony Playstation.
Tantalum is used for the production of capacitors for high performance electronics that need to be reliable and compact. Tantalum is produced in countries throughout the world, with less than 1% of total production coming from the Congo region in Africa. (This information goes against claims of civil wars fueled by the mining of Coltan in the Congo.)
For a great article with detailed information on Coltan and Tantalum production checkout the wikipedia entry that goes into depth on the mining, production, uses and geo-political concerns surrounding the production of this mineral.