02-24-2018: Coltan, material of the future.
For months it has been describied as a country on the verge of collapse, yet the mineral stocks of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are considerable: the South American country has remarkable amounts of gold in its soil (the estimated reserves are around 15 tons), it has the largest oil stocks of the planet and in recent years, deposits rich in coltan have been discovered. Coltan is a combination of columbite, manganesium and tantalum, and contains a high percentage of tantalum, a superconductor that withstands high temperatures, is resilient to corrosion and has a great capacity to store electrical charges. Coltan is the fundamental material for the manufacture of capacitors, microchips, video game consoles, global positioning systems, satellites, remotely controlled missiles, microelectronic devices. Besides, in cosmetic surgery it is used for breast implants. For its increasingly massive use in various strategic sectors, experts predict a surge in global demand that could triple by 2025. Until last year, it was thought that coltan deposits were found in substantial quantities only in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, but in October 2018 Venezuela inaugurated the largest coltan extraction plant in South America. At the time of the inauguration, the Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said that the plant would produce $ 7.8 million a day of revenue for the wellfare of the nation, reviving the importance of the Bolivarian country on the global energy chessboard. Coltan, oil and gold: they are the raw materials that cast Venezuela among the key mining countries players. On 11 January 2019 Nicolas Maduro took office for his second term as president of Venezuela. Maduro has been in charge since 2013, when President Hugo Chavez died and is a continuation of the Chavista policy, Venezuelan version of the Bolivarian revolution: a 21st century Marxist-inspired socialism, characterized by a marked anti-imperialism and with the ultimate goal of achieving a socialist experience in a democratic sense. Not surprisingly, it has driven the country to collapse.The re-election of Maduro was the conclusion of a campaign subject to numerous internal and international contrasts, concluded with reports of irregularities. These tensions led the National Assembly, the unicameral Parliament controlled by the opposition, to declare the elections null and its president, Juan Guaidó, has proclaimed himself 'ad interim' president of Venezuela while Maduro is still recognized as a legitimate leader by the National constituent assembly. Today Caracas has two presidents, while violences in the streets multiply, the people are hungry because of years of embargoes and the rest of the world is lined up between the two contenders. China, Russia and Turkey recognize the legitimacy of Maduro while almost all of the Western world aligns with the reasons of Guaidó. In Europe, the majority of the Member States of the Union support the Venezuelan opposition line, except for Italy which has not yet expressed itself because of the different currents that cross the government, divided between the League that would like to comply with the position taken of Europe and the M5S that does not want to recognize Guaidó.