commodity chain.wps

commodity chain.wps - Garkay Wong 18616594 DS 10 Glenna...

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-1Garkay Wong 18616594 DS 10 Glenna Anton Commodity Chain: Violence, Pollution, and Cell Phones Columbite-tantalite (known as Coltan for short) is one of the world’s most coveted raw materials. Refining coltan produces a heat-resistant metal powder called tantulum, a key component in high tech products. 1 Valued at around $100 a pound, the powder is sent to factories to be manufactured into tantalum capacitors, devices that store electrical charge in an field between two plates. The tantulum capacitors are then assembled into game consoles, cameras, cell phones, and computers and shipped around the world 2 . The chain begins with a raw metal ore called Coltan that is mined on several continents, including Australia, Canada, Brazil, and Mozambique. Around 15 percent of coltan comes from Africa, where four- fifths of the world’s untapped coltan reserves are located. According to estimates, about 80 percent of those reserves are located in the war-torn region of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) where militant rebel groups have been exploiting coltan mining to help finance a bloody civil war. According to The Industry Standard , 10,000 civilians have been killed and at least 200,000 people have been driven out of their coltan-rich land by opposing rebel groups attempting to gain control of key strategic mining areas. Rebel groups have resorted to use of forced labor, illegal monopolies and civilian murders to exploit coltan mines in order to finance their militias. According to the UN Report, after most of the legitimate mining companies went out of business as a result of civil war, coltan mining in the Congo became largely dominated by peasants 3 . Inexperienced peasants would sift through riverbeds or dig out the ore from abandoned mines with their bare hands. An estimated 30 percent of coltan miners were children who
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course DS 10 taught by Professor Watts during the Fall '08 term at Berkeley.

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commodity chain.wps - Garkay Wong 18616594 DS 10 Glenna...

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