Adaptable Technologies for Life – Cycle Processing of Tantalum Bearing Minerals
Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering
Nigeria is richly endowed in convertible natural resources of which solid minerals are a member of the endowments. However, the country is basically a mono-product economy based on its vast oil deposit accounting for over 84% of foreign earnings and 25% of GDP. The triple challenges of the volatile nature of global oil politics, achieving the objectives of the millennium development goals and the national economy empowerment and development strategies calls for diversification into hitherto
... n into hitherto neglected solid mineral deposits to open a window of opportunities. One of the widely reported mineral deposits in the country with strong international influence is tantalum-bearing mineral. The mineral had in the past few decades experienced a strong growth in demand averaging 10% per annum since 1992 with total world consumption estimated at over 38 thousand tonne in 2005. The total annual supply of the ore concentrate in 2001 was 720 tonnes when demand was 26 thousand tonnes. Thus, pushing the price of the concentrate to an all time high of $165 / kg in 2001. This paper outlines the characteristics of the Nigerian tantalum reserves. It also presents the evaluation of the competing technologies for complete cycle processing of tantalum bearing minerals for adoption in the Nigeria solid mineral industry.