Friday, June 3, 2011

Basic Facts


  • COLTAN is an abbreviation of COLUMBITE TANTALITE a mixture of two mineral ores and is the common name for these ores in Eastern Congo. Whilst TANTALUM is the name of the metal extracted from TANTALITE bearing ores including COLTAN after processing

  • For almost 10 years, conflict minerals have sustained a
    devastating war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)Eighty percent of the world’s supply of Coltan is located in the northern and eastern regions of DRC

  • From the DRC, coltan is exported to facilities, such as Ningxia Non-ferrous Metals Smeltery in China, for processing and is
    manufactured into consumer and industrial goods sold
    in North America and Europe.

  • Tantalite ore prices remained fairly constant at $40 per pound from 2007 into 2009, but starting midyear 2009 prices began to increase dramatically. In less than a year, tantalite ore prices more than doubled with the prices for Q1 2011 now coming in at $120 per pound and spot prices expected to touch $150 per pound

  • Coltan from the DRC has also been smuggled to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda

  • The coltan mined by rebels and neighboring countries (Rwanda,Uganda & Burundi) is sold to multi-national corporations

  • Major U. S. players sourcing coltant from Congo are Cabot Corporation, Boston, MA; OM Group, Cleveland, Ohio; AVX, Myrtle Beach, SC; Eagle Wings Resources International,Ohio; Trinitech International, Ohio; Kemet Electronics Corporation, Greenville, SC; & Vishay Sprague. Malvern, PA.

  • Corporations from other countries have been a part of the coltan exploitation chain. These companies include but are not limited to Germany’s HC Starc and EPCOS, China’s Nigncxia,
    and Belgium’s George Forrest International

  • In recent months many electronics companies have publicly rejected the use of coltan from anywhere in Central Africa, instead relying on their main suppliers in Australia.

  • American-based Kemet, the world's largest maker of tantalum capacitors has asked its suppliers to certify that their coltan ore does not come from Congo or bordering countries

  • In 2009, only 1,490 tons of coltan were extracted worldwide. Due to the large demand for coltan, the prices have exploded since this commodity serves as basis for the production of tantalum and niobium which in turn are indispensable in microelectronics and for the production of capacitors

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