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Tantalum: A Rare Earth Material recently found in Sutlej River

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 29-03-2024
Tantalum: A Rare Earth Material recently found in Sutlej River Place in News 5 min read

Traces of a rare metal were discovered in the Sutlej river, which could have significant implications for various industries and the local economy.

About tantalum

Tantalum is a rare and valuable metal that is widely used in modern technology. It is particularly important in the electronics industry, where it is used to store and release electrical charge. This makes it essential for the production of capacitors and high-power resistors, which are used in smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices.

Discovery of tantalum: 

  • Recently, tantalum was discovered in the Sutlej River during a routine analysis by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Punjab. This discovery has generated interest in exploring the riverbed further to determine the extent of the tantalum deposits.
  • Tantalum has unique properties, such as its high melting point, resistance to corrosion, and excellent conductivity, which make it a valuable resource. 
  • Its presence in the river suggests that there may be more untapped mineral wealth beneath the riverbed. Further geological surveys and research will be necessary to determine the extent of the tantalum deposits..

Importance of discovery

  • India has found a significant amount of tantalum deposits that could make it a leading player in the global tantalum market. This is good news because the supply of tantalum is currently limited and most of it comes from a few countries. 
    • This can cause market instability and supply chain difficulties. Having another source of tantalum will make the market more stable.
  • The extraction and processing of tantalum from the Sutlej River could create new job opportunities, attract investments in mining and refining infrastructure, and generate revenue for the local and national economies. 
    • However, mining activities should be conducted with the utmost care to prevent ecological damage. The Sutlej River is an important ecosystem that needs to be protected.
  • This discovery shows the importance of continuous scientific exploration and research. Even well-known environments can have hidden treasures that can transform industries and economies. 
    • As technology continues to grow and develop, the demand for rare metals like tantalum will increase. Finding new sources of these materials is crucial for maintaining technological advancement and economic growth.

Rare Earth Elements (REE):

Rare-earth elements, also known as rare-earth metals or lanthanides, are a group of 17 metallic elements.

Production of REE in India:

India has significant amounts of Rare Earth Elements (REEs), with over 7 million tonnes of REE reserves, which is more than 5% of the global reserves. 

India is the fifth largest producer of REEs in the world and started developing its domestic REE production in the 1950s. The mining and processing of REEs in India is handled by the Indian Rare Earth Limited (IREL).

About Sutlej River:

The Sutlej River is the longest of the five tributaries that make up the Indus River. 

Ancient name: "Satadree"

Origin: Himalayas in Lake Rakshastal, Tibet

Enter in India: wWest and south-westwards through the Shipki La Pass in Himachal Pradesh. 

Length: 1550 km long, with 529 km of it in Pakistan. 

Tributaries: Baspa, Spiti, Nogli Khad and Soan River. 

Hydroelectric projects: Bhakra Dam, Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant, and Nathpa Jhakri Dam.

Under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 water from the Sutlej River has been allocated to India. 


Answer: In Sutlej River

Answer: Rakshastal in Tibet

Anser: Sutlej river

Answer: Satadree
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