Hi there! My name is Carolyn and I am a student of a sociology globalization class at Emory University. Through this blog I act as an activist, hoping to infect some people’s hearts with awareness, empathy, and a drive to aid those affected by the conflict mineral crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), located in central Africa is incredibly rich in natural resources, and has been paying the price for this for more than a century. Besides a vast amount of minerals, they are also known for their rainforests and immense river systems, which provide both timber and hydropower (1). When one hears of the DRC, it’s not uncommon to hear a comment on the conflict mineral situation. The term conflict minerals refers to valuable metals being smuggled out daily by various armed groups. These minerals consist of gold and the“3 T’s”: tin (cassiterite), tantalum (coltan), and tungsten (wolframite) (2). The 3 T’s are known for their use in electronics that the majority of Americans and others around the world use constantly. These armed groups throughout the DRC use rape and weapons gained from the trade of $183 million worth of the conflict minerals to manipulate the local Congolese. They force the locals to work in the mines on meager wages of $1-$5 a day and dangerous environments (3). Because of mass rapes that occur and their desperate need of money, the locals are basically enslaved to these armed groups. Having control of the local population gives these groups control over mines and trading routes.