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Stop Blood Coltan

If we are all members of the one global family (and we are), then we must treat each like family. And the law of families is love.

Love means that we cannot enjoy blessings that cause our sisters and brothers a curse. And having minerals in Africa is a terrible curse.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has minerals in abundance. They haven't brought peace and prosperity; they have brought conflict and suffering. One of the hidden minerals that we use every day is called coltan (for short; it is actually two combined minerals). And it is in every modern electronic device. While I don't get the chemistry, I do understand that 60% of coltan comes from the Congo, and there are problems in its mining sector. Blood has been spilled in wars over resources, and some mines employ children, or expose adults to unsafe conditions, or displace people from their homes. That doesn't adhere to the one global family's values.

As far as I understand, there is no way to verify if coltan was ethically sourced, as was developed for blood diamonds (the Kimberley process). In late 2019, I read on that the Kimberley process has major challenges, but it is also an important, groundbreaking example of how to certify minerals, and what more needs to be done.

Can we, as a global family, ask electronics manufacturers to guarantee that the mineral coltan in our phones doesn't put blood on our hands? That's a total cost of ownership I'm unwilling to pay, and it's not me who pays the price - it's our sisters and brothers in the Congo. 

Activities so far:

  • Write Global Witness if there was a coltan certification scheme (Dec 2019)
  • Ask Congolese friends how foreigners can help contribute to its peace (Dec 2019)

Can you help take this project further? Needs include:

  • Researching existing initiatives 
  • Preparing an action plan
  • Gathering a team to move it forward 

If so, please contact me. Thank you.