Three minerals commonly used in the production of iPods, cell phones, laptops, and other electronics are tin, tantulum, and tungsten. These are commonly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
These resources are referred to as conflict minerals. You might have heard of conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds, before, and the concept of conflict minerals is the same. They are resources extracted in the midst of serious human rights issues, such as ethnic cleansing and rape. The purchase of these affects the scope of the current conflicts. Yet, halting the import of such conflict minerals has the possibility to even further the intensity of bloodshed in Africa. Belgium’s Ghent University has described this situation as being “stuck between a blood diamond and a hard place”
Most of the plastics used in electronics come from China. Metals used in electronics need to be mined. Over 95% of rare-earth metals used in high technology, which include electric cars, high-performance magnets, and computer hard drives are mined in China as well. As chelseyzellita mentioned, other materials are also mined in the Congo, and many workers in these mines are working in hazardous conditions.
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