Our products Niobium

Niobium is one of the main metals to be exploited, at both the Penouta Mine and in the pegmatite dikes of the Alberta II Research Permit, although the research to characterize the metal in these dikes is still being conducted.

In the case of the Penouta Mine, niobium is mainly found in the following mineral species.

  • Columbite Group Minerals [(Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)2O6], where variable Fe-Mn and Ta-Nb substitutions led to the formation of the different minerals of the series.
  • Pyrochlore Group Minerals (subgroup of pyrochlore [(Na,Ca)2Nb2O6(O,OH,F)]).
  • Ixiolite [(Ta,Nb,Sn,Mn,Fe)O2]

Columbite, columbite-tantalite and pyrochlore are the most common minerals in nature. The first two mainly occur in rare metal pegmatites containing Ta, Be and Li, as well as in highly evolved rare metal albite leucogranites, which are commonly Sn-enriched. This is the case for the pegmatites found in the Alberta II Research Permit and the low phosphorous albite leucogranite of Penouta, respectively.

Pyrochlore is found especially in alkaline and carbonite rocks, and in granite pegmatites to a lesser degree. This mineral occurs only locally in the Penouta Mine, which could be related to the most subsaturated portion of the granitic melt or to immiscibility processes.

Compositional and size variations in the columbo-tantalites

Nb applications

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