col·​tan ˈkōl-ˌtan How to pronounce coltan (audio)
: a dull black ore that consists of a mixture of columbite and tantalite and is a minor source of tantalum

Examples of coltan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Through interviews with soldiers, politicians, and businesspeople, along with ordinary people, the book explores the role that resources such as gold and coltan played in fueling the conflict. Peter Eichstaedt, Foreign Affairs, 1 Jan. 2011 Manono sits at the southern end of the other major arc of Congolese minerals: the Tin Belt, which stretches north toward Rwanda and yields huge quantities of lithium, tin, and coltan, essential for various forms of high-tech manufacturing. Roger Peet, The New Republic, 30 Aug. 2023 The Orinoco River, which divides Venezuela and Colombia in the Amazon, has been polluted by mining for gold and coltan in the Orinoco Mining Arc. Diana Durán, Washington Post, 9 May 2023 Old phones contain the rare mineral coltan that, when mined in the Congo and other parts of Africa, has reduced the habitat for endangered primates, including endangered great apes and gorillas. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr. 2022 The advance raises the prospect that M23 and its foreign allies could dominate a region that also produces tin, gold and coltan, and exacerbate a humanitarian situation in a country that already hosts more displaced people than any other in Africa. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2022 The Afro-futurist musical, set in a hacker village made of computer parts, follows a miner who flees his life of digging up coltan after his brother’s tragic death. David Sims, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2022 Bolívar, a sprawling state in Venezuela’s southeast, is home to steel and aluminum plants and large deposits of gold, diamonds and coltan. New York Times, 19 Nov. 2021 Some mines are run by warlords who work with rogue members of the Congolese army to smuggle the coltan out. The Economist, 23 Jan. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coltan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary columbo-tantalite, from columbite + -o- + tantalite

First Known Use

1999, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coltan was in 1999

Dictionary Entries Near coltan

Cite this Entry

“Coltan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

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