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Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has announced that according to preliminary technical studies the country may possess coltan reserves worth US$100bn, state news agency ABN reported.
"The price of coltan on the international market is higher than gold and even diamonds... and we may have a giant reserve of this-so called blue gold," he said during a speech in the Venezuelan national assembly.
In October Chávez announced that a major coltan reserve had been discovered and ordered the area to be militarized because of illegal mining in the zone.
Coltan is a conductor used in electronics. Its name is an abbreviation of columbite-tantalite and the world's main producer is the Democratic Republic of Congo.