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Needle-Like Treasure: New Mineral “Taes-Ce” Found in China Holds Promise for Tech Advancements

Researchers from the Mineral Microstructure and Material Composition Laboratory at the Institute of Mineral Resources, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, recently discovered and reported a new Brown-black or completely black mineral called “Taes-Ce,” which has passed the review of the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association.

Taes-Ce was found in rare metal pegmatite deposits in Jiangxi Province, southeastern China. Under a microscope, it appears in needle-like, bundled, and banded shapes, with colours ranging from dark brown to black, associated with feldspar, microlite, and pyrochlore. Analysis of the mineral composition conducted in the electron probe laboratory revealed its significant enrichment in the important rare metal tantalum.

Natural euxenite typically contains high concentrations of niobium and titanium, whereas tantalum-rich specimens are uncommon. Tantalum finds application in aerospace materials and high-end capacitor technology.

According to chemical analysis, the mineral is composed of 41.68% tantalum oxide, 16.5-20.1% titanium oxide, and 13.92-16.71% cerium oxide.

Through the application of electron diffraction and transmission electron microscopy, it was ascertained that the mineral is a member of the orthorhombic system, which is recognised as one of the seven crystalline systems within the discipline of crystallography.

Tantalum, alternatively referred to as tantalum, is extensively used in aerospace materials and electrical capacitors. The Institute of Magnetic Sciences classifies it as “relatively scarce” in China, where it is “dispersed.”

Cerium finds application in industries such as the oil sector and producing displays and other electronic devices.



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