Niobium Minerals & Applications
Niobium is also known as “columbium”. It is one of the five most resistant metals and has very useful functions in many alloys. Niobium is found in the same ore as tantalum, and as a metal, niobium, which has very important functions in many alloys, is shown among the metals of the future.
It is similar to tantalum in terms of chemical properties. Its pure form is soft and ductile. It never loses its shine. Its appearance is similar to steel, when polished it resembles platinum. It cannot be found in pure form in nature.
Minerals of Niobium
Columbite, also called coltan, is the most important mineral of tantalum. It takes place together with niobium in this mineral. It is generally found in pyrochlore, tantalite, columbite and microlite minerals. Commercially, it is generally obtained from the mineral pyrochlore.
Niobium Reserve and Production
Regions with reserves of niobium; Colorado, South Dakoda, Virginia, Northern California, Maine, Connecticut, Canada, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, Zaire, Germany, Australia, Norway, and Madagascar.
Brazil is the number one producer of niobium. About 90% of the world’s niobium production takes place in Brazil. Second place in production is Canada.
Application of Niobium
Niobium, compounds, and alloys are used in industry. It is one of the five major refractory metals. Tin and zirconium and niobium alloys are superconducting and used in electronic devices. Niobium-tin alloys are used in lifting systems and superconducting magnetic coils due to their high resistance.
It is an important element in micro alloyed steels and stainless steels. Ferroniobium, alloyed with iron, is a highly durable alloy. The alloy formed with niobium, iron and nickel has super alloy properties for jet engines and turbine blades. It is a suitable metal for jewelry and coins.
Niobium is a metal that can be used in bulb filaments as an alternative to tungsten.
Some of the products and areas where niobium, its compounds and alloys are used are; nuclear reactor cores, hot stamping molds, vacuum tubes, stainless steel, pressurized gas pipes, oil pipelines, railways, automotive parts, tool steels, acoustic wave filters, camera lenses, computer screen coatings, ceramic capacitors, cutting tools, electronic circuits, chemical tools and equipment, rockets, missiles, building beams, particle accelerators, super magnets, welding rods.
The Importance and Economic Value of Niobium
Niobium is one of the metals that gains economic value in the 21st century. It seems that the supply will be more than the demand, so there is a stable price balance. When looking at the price change for a ton by years, it is clearly seen that it is valuable today and maintains it stably.
Niobium, it is still valuable, and it is a metal investment that will provide good returns that will not decrease in value due to its widespread use in the industry, especially in steel. This widespread use will necessitate recycling, with both environmental factors and extraction challenges. Proses Makina Company provides high purity Niobium production from wastes or mining area with high efficiency processes to technical support.