Characterization and beneficiation of low grade Nb and Ta ore from kibara belt

David Mutombo, Willie Nheta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Due to their chemical, physical and mechanical properties, niobium (Nb) and tantalum (Ta) are strategically used in various technical applications. About 130 different minerals contain tantalum and niobium, of which only about 80 are found in economical deposits. The remainder contains Nb and Ta as impurities. The most commercialised source of Nb and Ta is a columbite-tantalite ore often referred to as coltan containing pyrochlorite. The Central African Mesoproterozoic Kibara belt in Katanga (Democratic Republic of Congo) forms a metallogenic province that hosts a variety of granite-related mineralization, rich in cassiterite, columbite–tantalite, wolframite/ferberite, spodumene and beryl. This study focuses on the characterization of Nb/Ta ores from the Kibara belt by using the XRF, SEM/EDS, XRD and ICP-OES. It was observed that Nb/Ta ore that occurs in this belt has a high Nb/Ta ratio. The grade of the ore is 0.01wt% Ta and 0.04wt% Nb. The major minerals phases are Tapiolite, Tantalite, Simpsonite, Pyrochlore and Ilmenorutile. The major gangue minerals present locking Nb/Ta are silica, feldspars with small amounts of mica and quartz. The size of the particles containing Nb/Ta are 8-12microns. Basing on these results, flotation is proposed at as the suitable way of concentrating this ore.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and Accreditation in Geosciences; Environmental Legislation, Multilateral Relations And Funding Opportunities
PublisherInternational Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9786197408263
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference, SGEM 2017 - Albena, Bulgaria
Duration: 29 Jun 20175 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameInternational Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference Surveying Geology and Mining Ecology Management, SGEM
ISSN (Print)1314-2704


Conference17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference, SGEM 2017


  • Flotation
  • Niobium
  • Pyrochlore and Kibara belt
  • Tantalum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization and beneficiation of low grade Nb and Ta ore from kibara belt'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this