The electronics industry is one of the main destinations for eastern Congo’s metals, which end up in mobile phones, laptops, and other consumer products. Tin is used as a solder in circuit boards; tantalum goes into capacitors, small components used to store electricity; tungsten is used in the vibrating function of mobile phones; gold is also used by the electronics industry – as a coating for wires.
World prices for each of these metals have been rising over the past year, giving armed groups in the eastern Congo all the more incentive to target or keep hold of the mines.
Global Witness is calling on the DRC government to demilitarise the mining sector immediately. We are also urging donor governments and electronics companies to do their bit to clean up this bloody trade by exercising proper controls over their supply chains.