The trade in a mineral called Coltan is one of the least well publicized humanitarian and environment disasters in the world. We all know about the ethical problems around diamonds, thanks in part to the Hollywood blockbuster film Blood Diamond, but most people will never have heard of ‘Coltan’ yet alone know about the thousands of people who die each year for you to consume it (yes, you).
Do you own a mobile phone? A laptop? A tablet? Are you using one of those electrical devices right now to read this? Then you are holding Coltan right now, because those devices could not function without the Coltan used in its tiny electrical circuits. That mineral is being mined, usually by children, under the close watch of rebel militia groups in war torn Congo and the profits used to finance a bloody conflict. Rival militia groups are using violence in an attempt to gain control of the supply.
This hour long documentary, Blood Coltan, exposes the powerful interests who seek to protect the supply of Coltan and continue to export it globally in defiance of United Nations orders so that you can keep spending money on the latest gadgets. Vice also covered this subject in their documentary The Vice Guide to The Congo.