The Dirty Little Secret of Minerals

The minerals used in laptops, cell phones, and cans can be found in the Republic of Congo.  The minerals in question are cassiterite, wolframite, and coltan.  According to the UK’s Guardian: ”Cassiterite is the main component of tin oxide.  Wolframite is a source of tungsten, used in many electrical applications. Coltan makes mobile phones work.”

Why should we care?

Last week 150-200 women and children were raped in Luvungi, North Kivu, in Congo.  This area is considered to be the mineral gold mine of cassiterite, wolframite, and coltan.  As a result, this part of the country is filled with exploitation and horror.  Rebels have moved in recently to gain control of the region.

The Congo is no stranger to this type of violence and is known as the “World rape capital.”  The United Nations is currently sending more peacekeepers to the region.  However, this unspeakable and vile incident happened within miles of an existing United Nations base.  The peacekeepers even drove through the area when the rapes and crimes occurred but appeared clueless to the situation.  What went wrong?  Where was the United Nations?

This type of violence is unacceptable.  It appears to be another incident where the needs of corporations are more important than human rights and dignity.

The links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/28/editorial-congo-rapes-mineral-mines

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11079135

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