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Conflict minerals are those minerals mined in a context of war and human rights abuses. The most well-known examples are in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.W. Profits fund continued fighting, and control of mines becomes a focus of the fighting as well.
Notable examples are rare earth minerals such as tantalum, and most famously blood diamonds (about which a high-profile film was made).
Choice of different minerals, alternative production techniques (such as printed circuit boards), and electronics recycling hold out hope of reducing demand, and thereby reducing the funding of conflict and human rights abuses. However, at present, demand is still strong, and alternatives are not yet competitive in the global market.
Notes and references
- Blood Rare Earth Metals?, blog post, December 26th, 2009.
- What China and the DRC Mean for Tin Investment, Tantalum and Conflict Minerals Legislation – Part Two, MetalMiner, March 10, 2011.
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