Conflict minerals

South-Kivi, DR Congo
December 2015

Assignment for PMU

The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in raw materials but nevertheless one of the poorest countries in the world. For more than twenty years, the country has been the scene of political unrest, economic adversity and conflicts between the army, armed militias and rebel movements. The humanitarian crisis in the Congo is one of the most complex and longest lasting in the world and is characterised by extreme violence, kidnappings and rapes on a large scale. Millions of people are dead, millions of others are displaced.

Congo hosts a significant amount of the world’s tin, tungsten and, especially, coltan, known collectively as the 3Ts (tantalum comes from coltan) — minerals that are found in everything from cellphones and computers to lightbulbs and vacuum cleaners.

These natural resources should be a blessing but instead are a deadly curse perpetuating the fighting. The forests, diamonds, gold and other mineral resources are not managed in the interests of Congo’s people. Primarily the country’s elite, mining companies and armed militias are benefitting while contributing to violence and exploitation during wars in the region.

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