Coltan (Resources)


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Melcher and his colleagues also use an electron microprobe that hits the sample with an electron beam. The emerging x-rays indicate which chemical elements are contained in the sample. German government scientists are using this technique to register the fingerprints of legitimate mines that then could be compared to field samples mined in the future. The idea would be to provide incontrovertible evidence showing that a sample of coltan was mined in a conflict-free zone. Melcher said he has reference samples from 75 percent of the world's coltan mines.

This is impossible for them at the moment. Some German companies have already been affected by the shadiness of the coltan trade. Starck, based in the central German city of Goslar, has one of the many refineries around Europe that takes coltan ore and refines it into pure tantalum. Starck is one of the few companies capable of completing the complex process of making tiny, reliable and heat-resistant capacitors out of tantalum.

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But 10 years ago the United Nations accused the company of using tantalum from war-torn regions of Congo and H. Starck's reputation suffered significantly. After the accusations became public, the company began cooperating with the United Nations and re-evaluated its coltan acquisition process.

Starck now does not purchase any tantalum from Africa. Companies like H. Stark are now banking on being able to rely more and more on African coltan.

Coltan, the Congo and Your Cell Phone by Ewan Sutherland :: SSRN

Soon, every one of its deliveries will be certified by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Hannover. Rock cuttings for the license have already been already charted and included in Frank Melcher's database. By taking random control samples the geologist can now verify whether coltan was taken from the company's mine in Rwanda.

One year ago the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources invited all 10 Rwandan mining companies for a certification workshop. The companies' chief executives were reserved in the beginning but four companies joined NRD Rwanda and have signed up for the testing procedures. Industry analysts have said that the new practice may pressure African coltan-exporting countries to clean up their mining practices on their own, without relying on harsher external policies.

But first, the Hannover geologists have to adapt their methods to the industry in the Congo.

And they all know that it's a far cry from the way things work in Rwanda to the unstable situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While German scientists say getting Congo and China to adopt their methods will be difficult, they said they are confident their process change coltan mining in the long term. While they are willing to provide the fingerprinting system, they say that the certification chain must be located in Africa to be most effective, and that its implementation remains a local political issue.

The fair-trade movement has made its way into the food and textiles branches.

Not only does this destruction of the forest ecosystem pose serious obstacles to the abilities of indigenous communities residing in the forest to sustain their subsistence activities, but they are further threatened by the ever-present dangers of warfare and disease brought into their homelands by outsiders. Their knowledge of forest resources is intimate and extensive, as they have sustainably harvested its products since prehistoric times.


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Known for their small stature and their polyphonic vocal traditions, Mbuti pygmies face profound acculturation forces in the present political chaos of DRC. As the civil war rages on and military forces grapple over natural resources, indigenous Mbuti stand to lose the most. CNBC Africa. August 24, Retrieved March 25, New Vision. Archived from the original on March 4, June 19, New York Times. The West Australian.

Business Wire. Berkshire Hathaway. February 5, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved May 12, Insight Crime. March 2, September 13, March 29, El Espectador. The Extractive Industries and Society. Coltan, the Congo and your cell phone: The connection between your mobile phone and human rights abuses in Africa Report.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Project Institute. Escaping the Resource Curse. New York: Columbia University Press. W Social Anthropology. Congo: The Epic History of a People.

February 1, American Ethnologist. Review of African Political Economy. Retrieved 28 January Bobb Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo 3 ed. Scarecrow Press. Radio Expeditions. National Public Radio. October 3, March 6, British Geological Survey. Retrieved 24 May Gorilla Biology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. The Telegraph.

Coltan mining and ethics

January Plumptre 11 April Ore minerals , mineral mixtures and ore deposits. Cassiterite tin Chromite chromium Coltan niobium and tantalum Columbite niobium Hematite iron Ilmenite titanium Magnetite iron Pyrolusite manganese Tantalite tantalum Uraninite uranium.

Acanthite silver Argentite silver Bornite copper Chalcopyrite copper Chalcocite copper Cinnabar mercury Cobaltite cobalt Galena lead Molybdenite molybdenum Pentlandite nickel Sphalerite zinc.

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