Ever heard of tantalum? You're not alone. So many of us have somehow glossed over this element back in grade school as we struggled to commit as much of the periodic table as possible to memory. Why you may not be familiar with the element itself, chances are you have, at some time or another, been the beneficiary of all that this metal has to offer. In its industrialized form, known as coltan, this transition metal proves highly resistant to corrosion and a natural conductor of heat, making it a perfect component in many modern day technology devices such as cell phones, dvd players and even home computer systems.
As we continue to expand our global technological innovations, we further and deepen our dependence on this virtually unknown commodity. The result? Due to this coltan's diverse range of uses, the tantalum mining niche has firmly established itself as one of the most important (albeit often unheard of) industries of the 21st century.
Often the very little that is known about the coltan industry is wrought with controversy. In recent years, tantalum mining throughout the African Congo has risen on the radars of human rights organizations for inhuman and often violent treatment of mine workers. As the African cultivation market's reputation began to become clouded with controversy, the entire industry experienced a significant product boycott in the region. Many industrialized nations, pressured from consumers, began to refuse to purchase coltan in the region until they could gain assurance that everything mined was done so as compassionately as possible.
Fortunately, there are other tantalum mining alternatives to the African Congo. South America, with its modernized business and social culture has gotten a major foothold in the industry and helped establish itself as a region that not only cultivates the metal humanely, but also has access to some of the finest quality product in the world.
Best of all, many South American mines gather the mineral on location and then transport the product to top quality refineries throughout the Costa Rican region. The practice of transporting even further enhances the reputation of global tantalum mining for a variety of reasons. With a firmly delineated corporate infrastructure, Costa Rican refineries were able to quickly acclimate themselves to the required procedures of the tantalum mining industries. Additionally, buy engineering specific refining processes, Costa Rica has been able to take premium quality coltan and make it even better. Enhancing the final product has helped businesses on a global scale improve their only merchandise line and product offering.
Finally, by establishing itself as a major international presence in the coltan industry, South America has helped to stabilize the pricing of coltan. During times of conflict and boycott, the price of this precious material was often in a constant state of flux, panicking corporations and consumers alike. However, with a consistent outflow of premium product coming out of South America has helped the often divergent pricing pendulum has remain at a more steady swing.