Hello everybody and welcome back to the Nyantende Foundation! Happy Friday, and hopefully midterms are dying down for everyone. Today’s blog entry will discuss the mining conflict in the DR Congo. It’s an important issue as it relates to the everyday ‘essential’ purchases we make.
The DR Congo is home to many rich and natural resources. Yet many of the conflicts in that happen in the country are due to the richness of the land. The DR Congo has been plagued by mineral mining conflict that has been the main motive of armed groups of all sides in the Congo. “Conflict Minerals” as they are termed are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuse.
The main minerals that are mined in the Congo are, coltan/tantaium, gold, tungsten and tin. These metals can be found in the simplest electronics that you own, such as your IPod or laptop. Yet, the companies who produce these electronic goods would never make transparent where their mineral supply comes from. This insures that the consumer is unaware of the effect their purchase has towards the suppression of an entire country.
Who controls these mines? Both the government as well as rebel-armed groups has control over these areas, yet both have denied any involvement. Nonetheless, the groups that control them heavily influence the communities that surround these mines. Children and men are enlisted to work in the mines face harsh and labour intense conditions. These workers are neither given proper medical care nor are they paid fairly. The people who do profit from this type of oppression are the people at the top, such as warlords or government officials. The money used is rarely put towards developing the community but instead is spent on weapons, which allows them to keep control over the population. Violence, such as sexual assault and physical abuse is a tool used to keep the population in fear and under control.
With the abundance of its natural resources the DRC’s economy should be thriving; however, with as much corruption produced from it, the economy has not benefited at all. Consequently, the DRC has remained one of the poorest nations in the world. This blog entry is not trying to blame its reader, however, we are trying to relay information that is regularly shielded in our everyday lives.
Heather and Maggie