Tin, Tantalum and Tungsten: The New Blood Diamonds

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Tin, Tantalum and Tungsten: The New Blood Diamonds

Two upcoming Senate bills could have a big impact on the Democratic Republic of Congo, by exposing how its 10-year conflict is being funded.

When Hillary Clinton visited the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, she called attention to the exploitation of the country’s vast natural resources to fund its bloody ten-year conflict.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a country rich in natural resources, including large deposits of tin, tantalum, and tungsten — metals used to manufacture many of the electronics found in U.S. homes, such as laptops, cell phones, iPods and digital cameras.

U.S. and international electronics companies purchase significant quantities of these metals from the DRC, despite a ten-year civil war that has cost an estimated 5.4 million lives. Rebel groups perpetuating the country’s conflict are funded by profits from mining activities, and by unwitting American consumers who purchase electronics using minerals sourced from mines in eastern DRC.

However, two upcoming Senate bills could have significant impact on reducing the conflict by providing consumers and investors with information on where minerals are sourced and how much money is paid to foreign governments. Both the Congo Conflict…

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