Tin. Tantalum. Tungsten. Gold. The 4 deadliest minerals on Earth. Not because they are particularly toxic, but because they are linked to the death of millions of people who live in East Congo. Militias run the mining camps where these minerals are sourced and smuggled, and they have sparked a war that seems to have no end in sight.
The good news is these minerals (except for Gold) are readily available from other parts of the world. The bad news however is (a) they are significantly more expensive, so there is continued demand for them from smelting operations in Asia that extract the ore. And (b) even if electronics companies who buy the ore want to source only non-conflict minerals, it is very hard for them to do so because ores are smelted together from all over the world.
That being said it is possible to trace the source of minerals, and theoretically an electronics company could force its smelters to source only conflict-free minerals. There just isn't very much incentive because consumers aren't asking for it.
ENOUGH is hoping to change that by raising awarness about the Congo and getting consumers to start asking for conflict-free devices. Here's their latest viral video which is both clever and informative:
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