29 November 2017

Tanzania: Tz to Have $40m Coltan Plant

The project will start in the near future after officials of Ministry of Minerals endorse it.

The ministry officials as well as AB Minerals and Destiny Minerals and Agriculture Consultant (DMAC) representatives met here recently to discuss the project.

The meeting was attended by Minerals minister Angellah Kairuki, minerals commissioner Benjamin Mchwampaka, his deputy Latifa Mtoro and well as AB and DMCA representatives Frank Balestra and Vimbai Chakanestra.

The plant will be constructed in Dar es Salaam to add value to tantalum and niobium.

Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria will be major importers of the minerals as they are major producers of tantalum and niobium in Africa.

AB Minerals Corp CEO Frank Balestra said in a statement to The Citizen at the weekend: "By upgrading the raw ore into high-purity tantalum and niobium prior to export, there will be significant tax revenue for Tanzania and employment opportunities will be created."

Balestra notes that, internationally, there is significant interest in tantalum, which is widely used in the manufacture of electronics and superalloys, and niobium, which is used in the production of high-strength low-alloy steels.

The value of coltan can be significantly increased through smelting and separating the minerals in the facility.

DMAC CEO Vimbai Chakanetsa stated: "This eco-friendly coltan heralds the dawn in the African economic transformation narrative where our dream for a socio-economically transformed Africa through our natural resources becomes a reality."

Coltan is one of the most important minerals.

Tantalum and niobium are almost always found together, and are recovered from pegmatite veins in granite intrusions or from placer deposits. Tantalum is also mined in Nigeria and Mozambique.

Tantalum is used in the electronics industry for capacitors and high power resistors. It is also used to make alloys to increase strength, ductility and corrosion resistance. The metal is used in dental and surgical instruments and implants, as it causes no immune response.

Niobium is used in arc welding rods for some stabilized grades of stainless steel and in anodes for cathodic protection systems on some water tanks, which are then usually plated with platinum. Its chemical properties are very similar to those of tantalum.


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