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Blood in the Mobile: Mining in the Congo

Colton mineral sex slaves

Various militias have been fighting each other in east Congo for more than a decade, raping and looting with impunity. The same rules that govern the base also seem to apply at the summit: So around 5, miners, many of them children and teenagers, continue to toil in a state of quasi slavery in DRC, at first under the open sky and then, when there is no more of the mineral left on the surface, in deep tunnels where they eat, sleep and work from dawn until dusk, seven days a week, days a year. The arrival of the rebel forces coincided with the explosion of the west's appetite for mobile phones, computers and other electronic equipment. Rubaya in the province of Masisi is three hours' drive from Goma and the epicentre of the blood minerals war. In worn boots, Inocence moves at military pace. Several men carry the body of a miner on a makeshift stretcher covered with plastic.

Colton mineral sex slaves

After all, if there is an industry that prospers in Goma, it is death. A brutish overseer stood over him, shouting and raising his hand to threaten a beating if he spilt any. The Foreign Office has named gold, coltan, tungsten and cassiterite tin ore from east Congo as conflict minerals. Mother Justice - waging a war on rape in DRC The gold that James, the trafficker, shows us in nugget form has left the quarry near Numbi, the same one controlled for years by Bosco Ntaganda , who is currently on trial for war crimes at The Hague. In a country devastated by civil wars in which millions have died, there is no other way for families to survive. Workers spoke of labouring for 12 hours a day with no protective clothing, and with many experiencing significant health problems as a result. The mines are particularly dangerous during the rainy season, when the damp earth can crumble, leaving miners at the mercy of carbonic gas or crushed inside underground caverns. Amnesty and Afrewatch are using the findings of the report to call on multinational companies to conduct investigations of their supply chains for lithium-ion batteries, to check for child labour or labour abuses and to be more transparent about their suppliers. They believe that their lives would be much better if Congo had no minerals. In addition to racial hatred, they are motivated by a desire to control the mineral zones - and will massacre entire villages in an effort to do so. Minimum wage laws are rarely followed at mines. As we arrive at the entrance to the mine, a legion of men turn to examine us with suspicion, some visibly surprised to see whites at the summit. Almost every big motor manufacturer striving to produce millions of electric vehicles buys its cobalt from the impoverished central African state. Tantalite coltan mining can cause health problems for women and children who work in the mines. First Quantum closed all its Congolese operations in , and in concert with other stakeholders initiated international arbitration proceedings against the Congolese government. Some tech lobbies, perhaps wishing to wash their hands of any responsibility for the exploitation of blood minerals, recently insisted that coltan is no longer used in the making of mobile phones, tablets, consoles or cameras, and that the mines were closing. With his mother dead, Dorsen lives with his father in the bush and the two have to work daily in the cobalt mine to earn money for food. The UN has confirmed that it is investigating. Work week hour standards, overtime payment and rest periods are largely ignored as well. Sometimes the children are sent down into the narrow makeshift chambers where there is constant danger of collapse. Many work nearly nude, without helmets or protective gear, and some are even barefoot. Others wear fake Real Madrid or Barcelona shirts. Our guide, a year-old miner called Inocence, must walk for an hour to reach his post at the largest coltan mine in the country. In August the Chinese firm Changfa Mineral Resources acquired the Mokambo Copper mine project in Mufulira on the Democratic Republic of Congo border and it is expected to create around 3, new jobs when it begins full-scale operations this year. Dominique Bikaba, director of Strong Roots, an environmental charity that works with miners to improve their conditions, has condemned the situation. They earn less than a dollar a day and are often forced to work harder than they are physically capable of working," he said.

Colton mineral sex slaves

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