The civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been fought since 1994, when Hutu rebels crossed the border from Rwanda following the genocide there. With Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola all involved to this day, the conflict is currently the deadliest ongoing conflict in the world. Eastern Congo, controlled by armed rebels, is home to a vast range of minerals, including tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. Due to their role in funding the conflict, they are known as ‘conflict minerals’. Conflict minerals are passed along a complex supply chain, leaving the DRC illegally. From smelters in Asia and Europe, they eventually end up as the capacitors, resistors and solders in a range of our daily products, from portable electronics to medical devices.
The issue of conflict minerals recently resurfaced when Activision Blizzard, the world’s largest interactive gaming company, announced that a detailed inquiry into its supply chain led it to conclude it had no reason to believe that its use of minerals contributed to funding armed conflict.