Coltan, a key commercial mineral, widely used in the tech manufacturing sector as the essential component in tantalum capacitors, has been flagged by the Colombian government as a mineral of strategic importance going forward. As a result, during the following months, the government will be looking towards formalizing its extraction in order to develop it as an industry.
A document released by Colombia’s Planning Unit for Mining and Energy assured that coltan is now one of the 11 strategic minerals on which Colombia will focus during the coming years, all as part of a plan to promote Colombia as a mining country.
The same report argues that a lot of difficulty will come from coltan mining, mainly due to the location of the known reservoirs, far away from existing ports and railways. The main reservoirs are known to be located on the eastern portion of the country, in the provinces of Vichada, Guainía and Vaupes.
Colombia’s state geological service announced that existing reservoirs could contain upwards of 1,000 tons of extractable resources. But it is important to consider that an important portion of these are located within protected natural parks, which would make its extraction impossible, as it would require total deforestation of the area.
The high price of coltan in the current international markets make its extraction and commercialization a very lucrative business. A ton of coltan could have be worth $9 million in-site, but could be sold for around $144 million abroad.
It is essential that the government explores and outlines coltan-rich areas, in order to make it possible to auction them off to the highest bidders.