Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Columbite-Tantalite – Mineral collection of Brigham Young University Department of Geology, Provo, Utah. Photograph by Andrew Silver. BYU index 4-8081 (pen for scale). Sample from the Mica Load Pegmatite, Gunnison, Colorado. Coltan (short for columbite–tantalites and known industrially as tantalite) is a dull black metallic ore from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted. Mining of coltan is mainly artisanal and small-scale and vulnerable to extortion and human trafficking. Tantalum extracted from central Africa is considered a “conflict mineral” and as such is subject to international monitoring.