For more than a century, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plagued by regional conflict and a deadly scramble for its vast natural resources. In fact, greed for Congo’s natural resources has been a principal driver of atrocities and conflict throughout Congo’s tortured history. In eastern Congo today, these mineral resources are financing multiple armed groups, many of whom use mass rape as a deliberate strategy to intimidate and control local populations, thereby securing control of mines, trading routes, and other strategic areas.
Conflict Minerals in Your Electronics
Profit from the mineral trade is one of the main motives for armed groups on all sides of the conflict in eastern Congo - the deadliest since World War II. Armed groups earn hundreds of millions of dollars per year by trading four main minerals: the ores that produce tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. This money enables the militias to purchase large numbers of weapons and continue their campaign of brutal violence against civilians, with some of the worst abuses occurring in mining areas. The majority of these minerals eventually wind up in electronic devices such as cell phones, portable music players, and computers. Given the lack of a transparent minerals supply chain, American consumers have no way to ensure that their purchases are not financing armed groups that regularly commit atrocities, including mass rape.
Congo's conflict minerals leave a trail of destruction as they make their way from the mines in eastern Congo to the mobile phone in your pocket. How does the process work? What is the human cost? What can consumers do to help end the violence being fueled by Congo's illicit mineral trade? This video breaks it all down.
The Enough Project is proud to feature "Consuming the Congo," an exclusive, in-depth multimedia presentation from VII, the world's premiere conflict photography agency. VII's photographers have extensively covered war in the Congo.
60 Minutes investigated the role of gold in fueling Congo’s deadly war, highlighting the hidden cost of the gold and other conflict minerals used in our jewelry, cell phones, and electronics. The segment also detailed the Central African players and forces involved on the ground.
Enough experts lead you down the path of the 3Ts—tin, tantalum, tungsten—and gold from the mines of eastern Congo all the way to your cell phone.
You Can Help End the War
The conflict minerals problem is complicated, and the suffering in Congo is immense. But there is good news: because we as electronics consumers are tied so directly to the problem, we can actually play a role in ending the violence.
We must raise our collective voice as consumers and demand conflict-free electronics. By pressuring electronics companies to remove conflict minerals from their supply chains, we can help remove fuel from the fire in Congo.
Help end war in Congo. Visit our take action page to add your voice to the movement.