A bloody connection to the Congo in every pocket . . .

A bloody connection to the Congo in every pocket . . .

Summary: We live in a global community where there is little happening in the world that we aren't all connected with in some way. The current global financial crisis underlies that point but also, the bloody conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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We live in a global community where there is little happening in the world that we aren't all connected with in some way. The current global financial crisis underlies that point but also, the bloody conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The "civil war" that has killed millions and displaced millions of people is largely financed by the Congo's massive resources of mineral wealth. This includes gold and diamonds but also coltan, a mineral from which tantalum is derived--an essential component in capacitors...which are an essential component in cell phones and any other digital device. About 80 per cent of coltan comes from the Congo and although there are sanctions against supplies from the Congo, those supplies that are easily laundered through a multitude of traders. Everyone along the supply chain makes a profit as the money goes back into the armies fighting to control the richest mineral regions in the Congo. And it is not just coltan, the electronics industry also creates huge demand for cassiterite, from which tin is derived, and used to replace lead in electronic boards. Here is a news report on coltan mining:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWj1ZGn4uM
Here is more information on this issue:

Coltan, Gorillas and cellphones

A recent report by the UN has claimed that all the parties involved in the local civil war have been involved in the mining and sale of Coltan. One report suggested that the neighboring Rwandan army made US$250 million from selling Coltan in less than 18 months, despite there being no Coltan in Rwanda to mine. The military forces of Uganda and Burundi are also implicated in smuggling Coltan out of Congo for resale in Belgium.

. . .The main area where Coltan is mined, also contains the Kahuzi Biega National Park, home of the Mountain Gorilla. In Kahuzi Biega National Park the gorilla population has been cut nearly in half, from 258 to 130 as the ground is cleared to make mining easier.

. . .American-based Kemet, the world's largest maker of tantalum capacitors, has asked its suppliers to certify that their coltan ore does not come from Dem. Rep. of Congo or from neighboring countries. Such moves could lead to "Gorilla Safe " cellphones being marketed, much in the same way that Tuna meat is now sold as "Dolphin Safe".

Your iPod and the Congo

Moneyweb - Fear and loathing - Guns, rockets, filthy minerals

Blood cell phones | The Gustavian Weekly - Gustavus Adolphus College
The Cassiterite Crisis - How Tech Boom Fuels Human Rights Risk in Africa

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Telcos

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  • What Will Make You Give a Damn?

    How many people read the article?

    I am not sure but only three had voted on it. A simple question, was favorable or unfavorable? I was the fourth person to rank it as favorable. BUT why did my fellow geeky friends not voted on it?

    The tech community are the very people who should give a damn.
    @...