Other Conflict Natural Resources
Every time you spend or invest a dollar, it goes to work in the world. Too often, it goes to support institutions and corporations that perpetuate injustice, pollute the environment and destroy communities. We CAN change that! Real change comes from consumers making a more educated choice with the products we purchase—to reduce the excessiveness we purchase products and demand corporations to have a transparent supply line.
Resource-fueled wars such as those that shattered the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola and Cambodia could happen again tomorrow and add to the death toll that has topped over six million since the late 1990s, all because the international community has not addressed the trade of conflict resources.
We believe if you truly knew the ramifications of your purchases you would make different choices. Please watch the following videos to educate yourself on conflict natural resources.How to Avoid Conflict Minerals
What can you do?
Since World War II, it is estimated that there have been more than 150 wars. Studies show that 80% (120) of these wars have been civil wars in developing countries mostly funded by Natural Resources.
- Be an educated consumer.
- Research on a company and product before you make a purchase. Do you feel comfortable giving your money to this business with poor ethics? Are they doing business how you would do things? Do they align with your core values? Are they giving back? Are they being transparent with their supply line?
- Reduce impulse and excessive buying.
- Do we really need a new cell phone every few months?
- Only purchase when absolutely necessary and only purchase recycled, refurbished, or used electronics.
- Buy locally.
- Remember not all products are disposable. Before a product got to your front door think about how many people were affected by its production.
- Recycle your unused electronics, gold, diamonds etc.
Most consumers don’t know where the gold in their products come from or how it is mined. Gold mining is a dirty industry—it can displace communities, contaminates drinking water, hurt workers, generate heaps of waste, leaves a long-lasting scar on landscapes and communities, and contaminates ecosystems with toxic waste which results in widespread water pollution. Cyanide and mercury, two highly toxic substances, have been released freely into the environment as a result of dirty gold mining.
How We Use It
It is no surprise that it’s used in jewelry (about 80%), but it is also used as a means to store wealth and in many modern industrial uses—including dentistry and electronics. Such as cell phones, calculators, personal digital assistants, global positioning system units and other small electronic devices. Most large electronic appliances such as television sets also contain gold. Gold is used in many places on a standard desktop or laptop computer. Applications of gold can also be used in a aerospace, food, decorations, awards etc.
Did You Know
Approximately a total of 170,000 tons of gold have been mined in human history, as of 2013. This equals approximately 55,000,000,000 tons of ORE (Earth that contains a mixture of rock minerals and metals) that has been removed. Resulting in 165,000,000,000 tons of earth that has been excavated (The production of one gold ring generates 20 tons of mine waste).
Like most natural resources, the supply will eventually dry up. It is estimated that there is only 30 years left of gold production, if mining continues to grow at its current rate.
Please take the time to watch this very informative video about “Blood Coltan.”
Coltan is the next well-known conflict mineral and in DRC, where “Africa’s World War” has been ravaging the eastern part of the country for years, armed groups earn an estimated $8 million a year from sales of that mineral alone. The connection between mineral wealth and vulnerability to both conflict and poverty is seen in various regions around the world, from Africa to Asia to South America. The DRC, with its unbelievable wealth of resources yet tremendous rates of poverty and violence, is the most extreme example of this “resource curse.”
Rape, oftentimes gang rape, has not only been used as a weapon of war, but now we are seeing a sexual violence explosion among civilians, as well.
How We Use It
Coltan is used in every laptop, cell phone, camera, and iPod you can find as well as in aircraft engines and military equipment. Short for columbite-tantalite, coltan is refined into tantalum, which is extremely heat-resistant and a good conductor of electricity—making it literally irreplaceable in just about all of today’s electronics.
Tin is mined as cassiterite, it is used as a solder on circuit boards. It also comes out of DRC and earns armed groups there about $85 million a year.
How We Use It
Tin is used as a solder on circuit boards in most electronics. “Conflict” tin ore, controlled by a renegade brigade of the Congolese army, is allegedly smelted in Asia and ending up in brand name products around the world.
Firestone Natural Rubber Company a subsidiary of the Japanese company Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., has experienced increased international scrutiny for exploiting the people and natural environment of Liberia since May of 2005 and for publishing of a groundbreaking report that documented Firestone’s exploits in this West African nation. The report, entitled “Firestone: The Mark Of Slavery” was produced by a Liberian based civil society organization, Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU), and exposed the dire working and living conditions of the bulk of the company’s Liberian based labor force.
How We Use ItThe main use is for tires and inner-tubes but sometimes wire casing, wallets, and handbags.
Tantalum is a rare, shiny, gray and dense metal. It is highly ductile and can be drawn into a thin wire. Tantalum is highly corrosion resistant due to the formation of an oxide film. It is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.
How We Use It
Tantalum is used in the electronics industry for capacitors and high power resistors. It is also used to make alloys to increase strength, ductility and corrosion resistance. The metal is used in dental and surgical instruments and implants, as it causes no immune response.