INTL 220: GC&E Assignment Technology, Congo and You?
Coltan is the industrial name for columbite-tantalite, a dull black metallic mineral from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted. Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture electronic capacitors, used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Export of coltan from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to European and American markets has been cited as helping to finance the present-day conflict in the Congo, with the DanChurchAid agency asserting that “much of the finance sustaining the civil wars in Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is directly connected to coltan profits.” An estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1998 in the war in the Congo.
Due to excessive mining, erosion of the land is occurring and polluting lakes and rivers, smothering the organisms that live in the water. This has a chain reaction as there is less of a supply for animals higher on the food chain.
The main area where Coltan is mined, also contains the Kahuzi Biega National Park, home of the Mountain Gorilla. In Kahuzi Biega National Park the gorilla population has been cut nearly in half, from 258 to 130 as the ground is cleared to make mining easier.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan |
ASSIGN MEN T: Reflect on the GCE Learning Outcome and answer two out of the three questions by thinking about different perspectives, or within your own experiences, values, culture, and within a larger context of International Business. Be open and honest in your answers and integrate course terms and additional supportive research.
1. Identify beliefs, values and behaviours that form individual and community identities and the basis for respectful relationships. Do you believe that it is the consumers responsibility or the industry’s responsibility to ensure that components of technology be mined ethically?
2. Analyze the use of the world’s resources to ach ieve sustainability and equitable distribution at the personal, professional, and global level. People, and thus labour are also resources. In your opinion, are we using the world’s resources (people mining) equitably when we buy a technology containing coltan?
3. Support personal and social responsibility initiatives at the local, national or global level. Find out some of the ways the industry is approaching ethical mining. Show your research and findings.