Connecting Electronics and Conflict Minerals

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An artisanal mine in Katanga

There is a direct connection between armed conflict in Congo and the minerals we use in our phones and computers. Bibi Bleekemolen has been investigating that connection, in an effort to understand how it works, who is involved, and what can be done about it.  Her focus is the role that electronics companies have in the raging conflicts in eastern Congo.

Earlier this year she went along as part of the fairphone fact finding mission to Katanga.  In this podcast we discuss the aftermath of that journey as well as Bibi’s extensive research into the topic.

Recommended Links about Conflict Minerals and Congo:



Tracing the Strategic Minerals Route in Congo

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Michael Interviewed in DRC

Earlier this year Michael Schaap went to DRCongo as part of the Fairphone fact finding mission. The goal was to better understand how the minerals that make up our technology, our mobile phones, are mined and how they travel from miners up through all the middle people and eventually to the mobile phone producers.  Can this process be carried out ethically? Where people are not taken advantage of or abused while doing their work and earning a living? Michael saw first hand how this process works and where things could perhaps change. But does the organization have the resources and support to achieve their goals? What lessons came out of the visit to Katanga?