Tantalum – resource of conflict

Tantalum is considered a conflict resource. Coltan, the industrial name for a columbite-tantalite mineral from which niobium and tantalum are extracted, can also be found in Central Afrika, which is why tantalum is being linked to warfare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire).

According to an October 23, 2003 United Nations report, the smuggling and exportation of coltan has helped fuel the war in the Congo, a crisis that has resulted in approximately 5.4 million deaths since 1998 – making it the world’s deadliest documented conflict since World War two.

Ethical questions have been raised about responsible corporate behavior, human rights, and endangering wildlife, due to the exploitation of resources such as coltan in the armed conflict regions of the Congo Basin.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports in its yearbook that this region produced a little less than 1% of the world’s tantalum output in 2002–2006, peaking at 10% in 2000 and 2008. USGS data published in January 2021 indicated that close to 40% of the world’s tantalum mine production came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with another 18% coming from neighboring Rwanda and Burundi.

Publicerad av Tomas Fredriksson

Truckdriver and writer

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