A grass-roots movement spearheaded by the 'Enough Project (opens in new tab)', is increasing pressure on electronics manufacturers to stop using minerals bought from mines under the control of militia groups in central African warzones.
The anti-genocide organisation is urging companies to keep the so-called 'conflict minerals' out of their products by keeping a tight check on their suppliers, so that they can trace the source of the commodities.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, home to around a fifth of the world's tantalum resources, has been ravaged by war, much of which has been funded by the sales of minerals to electronics manufacturers. Tantalum is used in the manufacture of electronic gadgets such as mobile phones.
The Enough Project has made use of sites such as Facebook and YouTube (opens in new tab) in an attempt to persuade Apple, Intel, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and others to ensure that their suppliers do not continue to purchase minerals from Congolese militias.
David Sullivan of the Enough Project said: “There’s no magic-bullet solution to peace in Congo, but this is one of the drivers of the conflict. The economics of the war should be addressed to resolve it”.
Companies are instead advised to buy the raw materials they require from other countries, such as purchasing tantalum from Australia.