IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th October, 2023 Geography

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  • The Centre on Wednesday approved royalty rates for lithium, niobium, and for Rare Earth Elements (REEs). For lithium and niobium, a royalty rate of 3% each has been fixed, while for Rare Earth Elements (REEs), the rate has been set at 1%.


  • It is a gray-white metal that is uncommon, soft, malleable, and ductile.
  • Nb represents the atomic symbol.
  • It features a cubic crystalline structure with a body-cantered structure.
  • It must be treated in a protected atmosphere even at low temperatures since it reacts with oxygen, carbon, halogens, nitrogen, and sulfur.
  • The melting point is 2,477 degrees Celsius.
  • Temperature at boiling point: 4,744 degrees Celsius
  • An oxide layer forms over air, the color of which depends on its thickness. Blue, green, and yellow are common colors.
  • Because of the oxide coating, niobium resists corrosion.
  • At 200 degrees Celsius, the metal begins to oxidize rapidly in the air.
  • At room temperature, the metal is inert to acids, including aqua regia, but it is damaged by hot, concentrated acids, as well as alkalis and oxidizing agents.
  • It is one of the five major refractory metals (metals with extremely high heat and wear resistance).
  • At low temperatures, it has the property of becoming superconducting.
  • Source of this material:
  • It is found in minerals such as columbite and tantalite rather than free in nature.
  • Niobium is extracted commercially by first producing the oxide (Nb2O5). Carbon or hydrogen is then used to decrease the oxide.
  • Brazil is the world's largest supplier, with Canada trailing far behind.
  • It is utilized in the manufacture of high-temperature-resistant alloys and specific stainless steels.
  • It is also utilized to construct superconducting accelerating structures for particle accelerators in its pure form.
  • Because they do not react with human tissue, niobium alloys are employed in surgical implants.
  • Niobium carbide is used in the manufacture of cutting tools.
  • As wires for superconducting magnets capable of producing extremely powerful magnetic fields, niobium-tin, and niobium-titanium alloys are utilized.


Consider the following statements in regard to Niobium:

  1. It is a pliable and soft metal.
  2. It has the ability to become superconducting at very low temperatures.
  3. It lives in its purest form freely in nature.

How many of the above statements are correct?

  1. A) Only one
  2. B) Only two
  3. C) All three
  4. D) None

Answer: B