What you need to know about Blood Minerals:
Blood minerals, or conflict minerals (also called conflict resources), are only found in large quantities in the Global South, primarily the African nation of the Congo (DRC) and are required in the production of smartphones, airplanes, automobile airbags, GPS devices, and almost every consumer electronic item – Here’s what you need to know.
Debate currently rages over Western laws, consumer demand contributing to the conflict, and more. It is a highly charged issue largely due to weak governments in many of these nations, corruption, unequal trade inbalances, and instability. (See http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/09/conflict_minerals_from_the_congo_is_your_cellphone_made_with_them.html) It appears that U.S. laws in response to the militias has hurt local populations and increased poverty rather than solving the problem….Article continues below image.
As the Dodd-Frank legislation (enacted 2010, in effect as of 23014) puts it, “the exploitation and trade of conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is helping to finance conflict characterized by extreme levels of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly sexual- and gender-based violence, and contributing to an emergency humanitarian situation therein.” “But the legislation, signed by President Obama four years ago, set off a chain of events that has propelled millions of miners and their families deeper into poverty, according to interviews with miners, community leaders, activists and Congolese and western officials, as well as recent visits to four large mining areas.”
There are some non-profits and NGOs working to publicize the issue but many are helpless to do much locally except try to change local conditions aid refugees, and enact laws that enable the trade that finances militias. One is Raise Hope of Congo. They have a number of reports on the issue, and even a company index/infographic on worst offenders and best performers of electronic manufacturers.
Similar to ” Blood Diamonds” ( see book here), the most commonly mined conflict minerals are cassiterite (for tin), wolframite (for tungsten), coltan (for tantalum), and gold ore, which are extracted from the Eastern Congo, and passed through a variety of intermediaries before being purchased by multinational electronics companies. These minerals are essential in the manufacture of a variety of devices, including consumer electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, and MP3 players. (from Wikipedia)
Some non-profit agencies besides Hope for Congo that are involved in either stopping the illegal trade of the 3Ts or publicizing the problem are:
Observatory of Governance and Peace (A regional non-profit)
Eric Kajemba, the Coordinator of the Observatory of Governance and Peace, speaks about the new laws regulating blood minerals at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt5b2z9r2Us
Note that in the video above, as in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1FQmUQ1-mM, some of these issues have been addressed by new legislation. To see how this legislation has affected the situation, please read: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/02/conflict-minerals-law-congo-poverty