Smartphones are revolutionary technological devices that have reshaped and evolved the way we communicate, learn, operate, and conduct remedial and important tasks daily. The technological miracle has made luxury and top quality entertainment a possibility at an affordable price; but all of this comes at a severe consequence, the misery and struggle for many third-world inhabitants.
Smartphones (in fact most technologies) are created using “conflict minerals.” These are rare minerals found in Africa, and most notably the Congo. The demand for these minerals have led to civil wars and militia barbarities. Minerals such as tin, tungsten, and tantalum are essential for the United State’s connected lifestyle. The Congo produces about 20 percent of the world’s stock of Tantalum. The mineral enables the creation of capacitors that store electric charge, allowing our devices to function without batteries. Tin fortifies the circuit boards used in all computing hardware, and tungsten allows smartphones to vibrate.
These useful minerals are in such high demand that they have turned the locations they are found in into war zones and sources of misery for third-world inhabitants: well not all of the inhabitants.
By Andres Loubriel on May 11, 2014.