One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rare, dense, black mineral consisting of a mixed oxide of tantalum, of which it is the principal source, and iron.
- ‘Lepidolite, beryl, tantalite, quartz crystals, and altered and unaltered petalite are some of the minerals that can be found in this district.’
- ‘In older Glossaries there were listings following both columbite and tantalite that referred the reader to ferrocolumbite, magnocolumbite, manganocolumbite, and so on.’
- ‘Although no spectacular or highly valuable minerals are present, the pegmatites contain minerals seldom found in Wyoming, such as petalite, beusite, lepidolite, and tantalite.’
- ‘Coltan is a contraction of colombo tantalite, an excellent conductor that is exceptionally resistant to heat and cold and valuable as a coat for electronic components in mobile phones.’
- ‘In the Democratic Republic of Congo miners seeking the highly prized mineral tantalite, or coltan, have been pouring waste into the Biega national park and Okapi wildlife reserve.’
Early 19th century: from tantalum + -ite.
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