Seeing the Sears email I posted i was reminded of an article that appeared in the Globe and Mail here in Canada.
Never ever thought about the source of raw materials when i was heavily involved in electronics back in the day, but it seems to be a very relavent issue in the making of something as simple as the Tantalum capacitor.
For non techies this is a really good capacitor which i will say most electronics today would not be around as small as it is if it were not for these capacitors.
Well turns out its causing another "Blood Diamonds" type of scenario in Africa. This time its in the DRC ( Democratic Republic of Congo). Appears they have some of the largest reserves of the mineral Coltan which contains tantalum.
World tantalum capacitor market is worth $2 billion annually. Who would have thought. 80% of the worlds Coltan is in Africa and the majority of those reserves are found in East Congo.
With an estimated $25 Trillion in potential value in mineral reserves Congo in terms of untapped mineral wealth is perhaps the richest place on earth.
Of course the Eastern DRC is a ses pool of trouble and human grief typically associated with this kind of mining.
The light at the end of the tunnel is the US gov trying to lead a push to embarress companies into disclosing source of material and cleaning up the human rights side to mining these minerals.
Anyone know of a website where good corporate citizens are listed and bad and shamed.?
So next time you hit the keyboards of your iphone computer or even telephone just think someone is getting a real raw deal on some of the mineral mining related to providing the conveniences we have.
The other side of course is if we did not have the demand well they would not have any work at all.