Enough experts lead you down the path of the 3Ts—tin, tantalum, tungsten—and gold from the mines of Eastern Congo all the way to your cell phone.
STEP 1: THE MINES
A Gold Rush with Guns
Kaniola gold mine, South Kivu.
Source: Grassroots Reconciliation Group / Sasha Lezhnev
“This region [eastern Congo] has so much of this coltan, you just dig on any hill and you find it.” -Denis, miner, Bukavu, South Kivu
“When the FDLR come to a mine, the first thing they do is get the girls and abuse them. Then they force many people to work and kill those who don’t want to work.” -Jacques, former militia commander, Nyangezi, South Kivu
The journey of a conflict mineral begins at one of eastern Congo’s many mines. A recent mapping exercise by the International Peace Information Service, or IPIS, identified 13 major mines and approximately 200 total mines in the region. Many geologists and companies believe that there may be a much greater abundance of minerals below the surface in eastern Congo, but decades of war have precluded large-scale geological exploration.
CBS' 60 Minutes highlighted Congo's deadly trade of gold.