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Search results for "coltan" ...

  • Phillips in Africa: Coltan (Colombite Tantalite); Zimbabwe business grab

    CBS News reports on the Congo civil war. The first part of the investigation finds that the efforts to stop the war have failed, "in part because Western companies are helping pay for it." Coltan, a mineral essential for the production of computer chips and high-tech devices, has kept the war going because African governments, middlemen and rebels have become "interested in loot as much as politics." The second segment reports on a land dispute in Zimbabwe, which has caused racial conflicts. The threats to white farmers and business-owners have forced some of them to try to escape to South Africa.
  • Guns, Money and Cell Phones

    The Industry Standard reports that the demand for an ore called columbite-tantalite -- or coltan -- is helping to fuel the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When refined, coltan becomes tantalum, a highly heat-resistant metal powder that is a key component in everything from mobile phones to computer chips and VCR's. As the demand for these products has increased, "a new, more sinister market began flourishing in the ...Congo. There, warring groups - many funded and supplied by neighboring Rwanda and Uganda - are exploiting coltan mining to help finance a bloody civil war now in its third year." Although selling coltan is not illegal, a United Nations report in April suggested that thousands of tons of coltan had been smuggled from the Congo into Rwanda and Uganda, and may have eventually made it to the U.S. companies that use the material. For their part, these companies have no way of knowing whether the tantalum they use is helping to finance the civil war. Another side effect of the coltan trade: mining activity is especially big in the mountainous northeastern region of the Congo, where endangered gorillas live.