The mobile phones, Laptops and Personal computers are a remarkable piece of engineering, your electronic luxuries contains tiny electronic circuits, and they couldn’t work without a mineral called Coltan.
Coltan (columbite–tantalite and known industrially as tantalite) is a dull black metallic ore. It is used primarily for the production of tantalum capacitors, used in many electronic devices. Many sources mention Coltan’s importance in the production of cell phones, but this is an oversimplification as tantalum capacitors are used in almost every kind of electronic device. The tech boom caused the price of Coltan to rocket to as high as US$600 per kilogram at one point, compared to a previous value of US$65 per kilogram. 80% of the world’s known Coltan supply is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which the UN says is subject to Highly organized and systematic exploitation.
Look inside your electronic devices!! There’s blood in it, the blood of Congolese who are dying in a terrible conflict.
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 Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and their proxy militias are the primary exploiters of Coltan in the Congo. Rwandan army made US$250 million from selling Coltan in less than 18 months, although Rwanda and Uganda possess little or no Coltan, during the period of the war in the Congo, their exports escalated exponentially. Although, the United Nations in its reports on the Congo do not directly blame the multi-national corporations for the conflict in the Congo, it does say that these companies serve as The engine of the conflict in the DRC. Major United States players include: Cabot-Corporation, OM-Group, Eagle Wings Resources International, Kemet Electronics Corporation, Vishay Sprague etc. Once the Coltan is processed and converted to capacitors, it is then sold to companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Compaq, Alcatel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lucent, Ericsson and Sony for use in a wide assortment of everyday products ranging from cell phones to computer chips and game consoles etc.
The West’s demand for Coltan, used in mobile phones and computers, is funding the killings in Congo. Under the close watch of rebel militias, children as young as ten work the mines hunting for this black gold. Morally and ethically are we suppose to turn our eyes from this exploitation, my purpose of writing this article is not just to let you know what’s happening around in Congo, all what I want is that all of us (including me) should develop some empathy towards those who are suffering, imagine you and your family being harassed by some local armed militia men because you are sitting over a precious metal reserves, What on earth is your fault if those metal ores ended up beneath your living area, does this justifies your killing or harassment?? NO absolutely NO!!! No matter where you live and which community you belong to, we should raise our voices against this. Use Facebook, Twitter whatever it takes to increase awareness among your fellows. I tell you if we stop buying electronic products from those big companies just for a month it will be enough to force them to use legal meaning of extracting Coltan. Our Govt. at the same time too should take step in the light of UN resolution, pressuring these multinational firms in stopping illegal exploration of Coltan. As in the end it is us who consume that has innocent blood in it!!!
I would recommend to watch this Documentary :