Monday, January 31, 2011

Conflict minerals in the Congo

I saw an article the other day about Conflict Minerals. I had never heard of them before, but when I researched a bit more I realized that the Congo is continuing to be plagued by so much as a result of their plentiful mineral deposits.

Basically, the Eastern Congo is rich in minerals such as gold, tungsten, tin and tantalum - minerals that are used a great deal in electronics, like cellphones and computers. Armed groups earn hundreds of millions of dollars per year trading these minerals, and they use a chunk of that money for weapons so they can intimidate and control local populations, secure trade routes, and retain control of the mines. And yup, you guessed it, part of the way they scare the local populations and control them is by using rape as a weapon.

Since it's incredibly difficult to find out the full supply chain of these minerals, it is basically impossible for consumers to be able to find out if our personal technological devices contain these conflict minerals. There do have rankings for certain companies to see if they are better or worse at policing their supply lines. Check out this ranking

The "Raise Hope for Congo" non-profit awareness group has a ton of info on their website, including this video:

If you are interested in joining voices with those who are speaking out about the need for conflict mineral-free technological devices, visit their action page

Also, if you are interested in donating to an organization that helps rape victims in the Congo rebuild their lives, check out "Women for Women International"

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nix, I was not able to find out what exact minerals we use in our products, but I found this blurb on our website (Under the Conflict Free Minerials tab):

    "Qualcomm is aware of concerns that minerals mined in conflict areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries may be making their way into the electronics industry supply chain, and may be fueling human rights violations and environmental degradation.

    Qualcomm is committed to ensuring our supply chain is free of DRC conflict minerals by supporting industry-wide efforts to implement due diligence standards, systems and procedures. In addition to requiring that our suppliers comply with applicable laws, we expect that they source materials from environmentally and socially responsible suppliers, and not from conflict areas in the DRC and adjoining countries."

    Another reason my job rules.