Psst - Wanna Buy Some Conflict Coltan ?
Published on: 16th Jan 2006
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
We get a lot of emails at cellular news. A lot of them generic spam mails quite a few trying to buy large quantities of cellphones for shipment to less than trustworthy parts of the world but this weekend I think it is fair to say that a new line in such emails has arrived. We are now being offered a quantity of Coltan for shipment. Coltan short for Columbite tantalite is found mainly in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a vital component in the capacitors that control current flow in cellphone circuit boards.
The problem is, that Coltan from the DRC is not entirely a good thing. A recent report by the UN has claimed that all the parties involved in the local civil war have been involved in the mining and sale of Coltan. One report suggested that the neighboring Rwandan army made USD250 million from selling Coltan in less than 18 months. The military forces of Uganda and Burundi are also implicated in smuggling Coltan out of Congo.
It would seem that people out there would seek to use cellular-news as a conduit for so called "conflict coltan".
Our new supplier - using a disposable email address - is a Mr Kwame Twum-Barima. Now, it is not for us to make aspersions about people from their name, but the surname is certainly not traditionally associated with Australian nationals - Australia being the main "legal" source of Coltan.
Needless to say, we have declined his most generous offer!
You can read more about Coltan, and how mining is affecting local Gorilla populations here - http://www.cellular-news.com/coltan/"