Before watching Unwatchable in the community channel, I did not know anything about the Coltan, this blood mineral. After I watched, I decided to do something about it. So, I made this image to inform other people who may not have heard about it.. In the hope that these horrible events stop and these poor unfortunate people find peace in their ordinary life for good.
Coltan (also C and known industrially as tantalite) is a dull black metallic mineral from which the elements niobium (formerly "columbium") and tantalum are extracted. The niobium-dominant mineral is columbite, hence the "col" half of the term. The mineral concentrates dominated by tantalum are referred to as tantalite.
Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture electronic capacitors, used in consumer electronics products such as mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Conflicts, including the Rwandan occupation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) made it difficult for the DRC to exploit its coltan reserves. Mining of the mineral is mainly artisanal and small-scale. A 2003 UN Security Council report charged that a great deal of the ore is mined illegally and smuggled over the country's eastern borders by militias from neighbouring Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.
To many this raises ethical questions akin to those of conflict diamonds. Owing to the difficulty of distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate mining operations, several processors such as Cabot Corp (USA) have decided to forgo central African coltan altogether, relying on other sources.
Toward Freedom claims that the 2000 launch of the Sony PlayStation 2 increased demand for tantalum electrolytic capacitors, causing the world price of coltan to increase sharply, in turn resulting in accelerated mining of the Congolese hills containing coltan.
All three countries named by the United Nations as smugglers of coltan have denied being involved. Austrian journalist Klaus Werner has documented links between multi-national companies like Bayer and the illegal coltan traffic. A United Nations committee investigating the plunder of gems and minerals in the Congo listed in its final report approximately 125 companies and individuals involved in business activities breaching international norms. Companies accused of irresponsible corporate behavior are for example the Cabot Corporation, Eagle Wings Resources International Forrest Group and OM Group.
Estimates of the Congo's fraction of the world's coltan reserves range from 64% to 80%. Tantalum, the primary mineral extracted from Coltan is also mined from other sources, and Congolese coltan represented around 10% of world production in recent years.
Unwatchable: Masika tells her story
Blood Coltan - Part 1
Blood Coltan - Part 2
Blood Coltan - Part 3
Blood Coltan - Part 4
Blood Coltan - Part 5
Blood Coltan - Part 6
Telegraph - Pressure on mobile phone makers to stop using Congolese 'blood minerals'
Cellular News - Coltan, Gorillas and cellphones
The Politics of Coltan
Grand Theft Congo - DRC