But this metal has occupied the pages of newspapers for issues related to the so-called conflict minerals, or bloody minerals, since most of the production comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).As with other rare metals, production is concentrated in a few areas of the world and the countries that are the largest producers or consumers of electronics do not extract even a kilogram of the necessary minerals. This is the case, for example, of the United States that have not produced tantalum since 1959.Above all, Africa is the continent that feeds the rest of the world with tantalum, as is evident from the five countries in the world which, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) statistics, produced the largest amount in 2015.1) RUANDA (mining production: 600 tons). It turns out to be the largest producer of tantalum in the world, despite being a position full of controversy. In fact, much of Rwanda’s mineral production comes from other countries, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the head. US regulations regarding the origin of minerals from war zones, which force large electronics companies to communicate their use, has led the Congo to sell its production to neighboring countries to render US law ineffective.
2) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (mining production: 200 tons). It is one of the largest producers of tantalum in the world and this metal is only a small part of the precious mineral resources of the country. According to National Geographic, the Congo produces up to 50% of the world tantalum but its mining activities have the sad reputation of being immoral and corrupt.
3) BRAZIL (mining production: 150 tons). Brazil is the largest producing nation of tantalum outside Africa and has reserves estimated at 36,000 tons. The largest tantalum mine in the country is Mibra, owned by the Advanced Metallurgical Group NV. In light of the problems of Rwanda and Congo, it is foreseeable that in the coming years Brazil will become one of the main sources of tantalum for companies all over the world.
4) CHINA (mining production: 60 tons). The country is a major provider of tantalum for Western countries. In the United States, 30% of the imported metal comes from China.
5) AUSTRALIA (mining production: 50 tons). With estimated reserves of 67,000 tons, it extracts tantalum mainly from the Greenbushes mine, best known for its lithium deposits.