The DRC is considered to be one of Africa’s richest countries in terms of natural resources with immense mineral reserves scattered across the country. The northeastern part of the country contains gold, coal and iron-ore deposits, and coltan – a term derived from the word ‘columbite-tantalite’ that belongs to a group of geochemical products internationally known as tantalum.
The demand is increasing as 5G technology grows, owing to the requirement for low-voltage capacitors in the fast-growing telecommunications sector. Global coltan production was estimated at about 2.3 kilotons in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about six per cent between 2021 and 2026.
In 2021, the DRC’s coltan production amounted to an estimated 700 metric tons, thus it was the world’s largest coltan producer by far. n 2021 and 2026. In 2021, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s coltan production amounted to an estimated 700 metric tons, thus it was the world’s largest coltan producer by far.