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. The niobium-dominant mineral in coltan is columbite (after niobium's original American name columbium), and the tantalum-dominant mineral is tantalite.
On a stormy day in the summer of 1952, the mining entrepreneur Lang Hancock and his wife Hope were flying from his asbestos mine in Nunyerry in the north of Western Australia towards Perth, when looming clouds forced them to take their small plane low over the cliffs and gorges of the Hamersley Ranges in the Pilbara district
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