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Your Phone, Coltan and the Business Case for Innovative Sustainable Alternatives



Daphné Joseph-Gabriel wrote “Your Phone, Coltan and the Business Case for Innovative Sustainable Alternatives” as part of the 2014 Humanity in Action Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship. The research essay was first published in Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity (Humanity in Action Press 2015). The complete book is available for purchase on Amazon.



What responsibility do multinational firms have when operating in weak and failing states where the rule of law is close to non-existent?

This article addresses a corporate social responsibility (CSR) issue that lies at the interaction of globalization, business, and development. The article analyzes this issue using the lens of resource extraction and specifically focuses on a specific mineral called Coltan that is mined in the Congo area of the Sub-Saharan African continent. Coltan, short for Columbite-Tantalite, is found in digital high-tech devices (smartphones, laptops, etc.) and is linked to financing rebel groups in Congo and The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Given that Coltan is bought and traded by big multi-national extraction firms, what responsibility do these firms have when operating in weak and failing states where the rule of law (for protecting populations) is close to non-existent? What standards must they uphold? Is there any governance? Some international processes—like those initiated by the United Nations (UN) or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—have existed to promote transparency within the supply chain. Ultimately, though, is not the onus on companies to ensure that the danger of Coltan mining is reduced? High-tech digital devices are part and parcel of technologic modernization. But at what price? What possible ‘solutions’ exist and are there any responsible and credible business alternatives?

What are the responsibilities of the different types of individual and collective agents such as citizens, consumers, states and corporations in today’s global digital economy?

In all, what are the responsibilities of corporations involved in the supply chain? More broadly, what are the responsibilities of the different types of individual and collective agents such as citizens, consumers, states and corporations in today’s global digital economy?


I have a phone, my neighbor next to me has a phone, and you have a phone. (1) But does my phone have to be one of the sources, however direct or not, of violent bloody wars in the Congo or elsewhere? Or at the least, does the phone I have need to be linked to entire regions being destabilized and connected to excoriating working conditions, basic human rights violations, and environmental disorder?

In 2006, the Hollywood political war thriller blockbuster Blood Diamond promoted public awareness of blood diamonds, or diamonds mined in African war zones and sold to rebel army groups. The movie was set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1996–2001.

Specific chemical and electronic properties make them most useful for high-tech devices for their heat storage capacity, conduction, electric conduction, and magnet power.

I remember seeing this movie and saying to myself; ‘well people could live without diamonds’ and ‘they are greedy to possess such items.’ ‘It’s pretty easy to simply keep out of such bloody links by not to buy diamonds.’ But, what about for a phone? There is no greed in wanting to possess a phone, or a laptop, a Kindle, a TV screen. A phone can even be considered a communication necessity, while a computer is a way of accessing the Internet and entering the knowledge-based economy. Considering the phone is an indispensable possession, can one not want to know what composes it? What materials are used? What process did it undergo to get to your or my pocket? What background and human capita was used in its fabrication process? What impact on people and the environment?  I certainly do not feel at ease with the slightest doubt that what I carry in my hand bag—which accompanies me from morning to evening, wakes me up, and helps me communicate with others—could somehow be linked to some kind of conflict or human abuses elsewhere.

So what is wrong with my seemingly harmless phone? What possible connections are there between a phone and war crimes, human rights violations, and environmental havoc in the DRC or the Congo?

The missing links lie in the metallic ores found in such high-tech devices. They are multiple and diverse; a whole range of rare earth minerals are found in them. They have specific chemical and electronic properties making them most useful for high-tech devices for their heat storage capacity, conduction, electric conduction, and magnet power. One of these rare earth minerals is called Coltan, short for Columbite-Tantalite, which is composed of two rare earth metals: Niobium (Nb) and Tantalum  (Ta). How are mobile screens or flat TV screens so shiny? How are electric batteries so powerful? Coltan is one of the answers to these questions and its just one out of many other minerals that contribute to this high-tech digital savvy success.

Without demonizing specific groups, the past and present shows that many companies have so far fallen into the worst practices.

Coltan is extracted in different parts of the world from Australia to Russia, Canada to China and Brazil. Sub-Saharan Africa is also a prime extraction location, mainly in the Congo and DRC.  Why does this paper then focus on The Congo or DRC? Essentially because these states are fragile states where the state has little means to protect populations and monitor exactly what is happening on the ground. Weak or close to non-existent institutions, feeble laws or enforcement of the laws, security issues, and high corruption rates (2) plague these states. . The mining is often described as artisanal (3), “salvage,” and international corporations’ operations on the grounds are pretty much not the object of public institutions’ scrutiny. Without demonizing specific groups, the past and present shows that many companies have so far fallen into the worst practices. This paper would like to show that through better CSR practices companies could gain and build an economic advantage. A business case exists to support this.

Another question that could arise is that out of many existing rare conflict minerals, why the choice in this paper to focus on Coltan? The answer lies in the bigger possibility, through Coltan, to reach the public and citizens. Indeed, Coltan being linked to high-tech devices you and I all have, a phone, the awareness capacity of such a mineral is much bigger, than when speaking about minerals principally used in car engines, for instance. The capacity for advocacy of such issues through Coltan, its better public “visibility”, is thus that much higher. It does not, however, underpin the rest; it serves as a more “visible” case in the eyes of the public and speaks out for all the very similar conflict minerals entering the high-tech supply chains of todays’ digital economy.


Part I seeks to present the uses of Coltan in high-tech devices, the links to conflicts and human rights abuses, and the corporations involved in the process leading from the ore in the soil to the electronic smartphone buried in the vast majority of bags and pockets of each and one another. Building on those linkages, Part II seeks to go more in depth on the initiatives, both public and private, created to counter the deleterious effects of Coltan mining and trading. Part III intends to showcase the possibilities of a business case for responsible and sustainable corporations along the supply chain, operating with rare earth minerals like Coltan.

I. The Use of Coltan in High-tech Devices, the Links to Conflicts and Human Rights Abuses and the Corporations Involved in the Industrial Process

Coltan, the Ore and Rare Earth Minerals

The term rare earth minerals points to the 15 chemically similar lanthanide elements, which are: lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. Two other elements, yttrium and scandium, which have similar chemical properties, are often also referred to as rare earths. Rare earths can be divided into “light” rare earths and “heavy” rare earths. Both light and heavy are present to varying degrees in all rare earth deposits. Rare earths are therefore recovered and processed together before sequential separation into individual rare earth elements. Prices for individual rare earths in pure oxide form can vary significantly with, generally speaking, the heavy rare earths trading at higher values.

Joseph-Gabriel 1

Coltan, the ore focused on in this paper, is a metallic ore that is short for Columbite Tantalite, which contains two rare earth metals particularly valued for high-tech and digital products: Niobium (Nb) and Tantalum (Ta). These metals have particular electric conductivity, increase magnetic capacity, resist heat, produce vivid colors (screens), and enhance electrical battery performance, making them very attractive in the digital and high-tech industries.

Multiple Uses of Niobium and Tantalum: Metals Composing Coltan Ore

Niobium and Tantalum have a broad range of uses, sometimes found in the most unsuspected items:

  • Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) filters in mobile phones
  • Lenses with high refractive indices for spectacles, digital cameras, mobile phones, and ink jet printers
  • Layers in semiconductor circuits
  • Compact capacitors used in smaller electronic devices such as hearing aids, pacemakers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital cameras, MP3 players, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and automotive electronics (e.g., controllers for airbags)
  • Computer hard drives.
Joseph-Gabriel Image 2

In average, 20 to 30 minerals come into the composition of a smartphone. Tin, Gold, Tungsten, Copper, Palladium are examples. Tantalum (Ta), extracted from the ore Coltan, is another. What is so special to Tantalum? It can hold the highest electrical charge of any metal, which makes it an ideal component for a device called a capacitor, which stores and releases an electric charge. An average mobile phone only contains about 40mg of tantalum – a relatively insignificant amount, until one considers the hundreds of millions of devices in use.

Coltan Extraction Zones and the Corporate Preference for the Congo Area 

A major extraction zone of Tantalum is Africa (mainly the Congo area: DRC and The Congo). Somewhat paradoxically, or counter intuitively, the biggest estimated world reserves are situated in Australia, South America (Bolivia, for instance), China, and not the African continent. Why this discrepancy?

This is linked to a number of factors. First, it is cheaper for multinational corporations to operate in the Congo area than in other areas (such as Australia or the USA), where the environmental norms, mining conditions, security issues and labor laws are more pressing and under tight scrutiny, increasing extraction costs. Another factor is that some countries (such as China) that possess significant earth mineral reserves are keen on preserving their reserves for the time being. Various arguments are put forward for doing so—including environmental claims, national consumption preferences, and geopolitical foreign policy strategic tools.

The recent trade conflicts that reached the World Trade Organization (WTO) level is a case in point. Since 2007 China has restricted exports of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) and imposed export tariffs, both to conserve resources and to give preference to Chinese manufacturers. After long battles, the WTO ruled in March 2014 in favor of the complaint from the United States, the European Union and Japan (4),  accusing Beijing of violating trade rules by imposing quotas on exports of rare earths. The case is ongoing to this day as China has said the restrictions are in place for environmental protection reasons and has therefore appealed the ruling. (5)

Environmental incidents in 1998 were a catalyst for change.

Another interesting case is that of Mountain Pass mine, located in California. Mountain Pass is one of the oldest rare earth mine. A uranium prospector discovered high radioactivity in the area in 1949. The Molybdenum Corporation of America (became Molycorp in 1974) bought the mine. With the increasing demand for europium given their use color television screens, production sky-rocketed in the 1960s. Between 1965 and 1995, the mine reached its heydays of production, supplying most of the worldwide rare earth metals.

Environmental incidents in 1998 were a catalyst for change.  Accurate figures are not easy to find, but some reporters suggest that hundreds of thousands of gallons of water carrying radioactive waste spilled into and around Ivanpah Dry Lake. (6) These wastewater leaks spurred strong conservationist opposition and facilitated more stringent environmental laws. Parallel to this, lower prices of REEs were decreasing profitability costs. In response, The Mountain Pass mine closed down in 2002, and corporations sought more profitable areas to extract minerals in countries where environmental laws and labor legislation are not on the agenda, such as the Congo.

These new trends may lessen the pressure of extraction zones situated in the Congo area.

In countries such as the Congo, where states are “weak” and legislation is close to non-existent or marred in conflict, corporations find it much easier and more profitable to operate, given they are far less accountable to anyone. In the Congo area, mining of Coltan is oft described as artisanal, the trading of elements usually dealt confidentially between private firms, with very little public disclosure or state scrutiny.

In recent years with the digital age revolution engulfing demand, some countries have imposed quotas (e.g. China) and rare earth element prices have soared, close to ten-fold for some. (7) As a consequence, certain mines formerly deemed unprofitable or not ‘environmental friendly’ are now reopening. As such, with the respect of new environmentally friendly extracting methods (or deemed to be), Mountain Pass mine is seeing a revival. The Molycorp Company resumed operations on a start-up basis at the Mountain Pass mine in August 2012, in tune with the US government’s will to be self-reliant and decrease its dependency on China. These new trends may lessen the pressure of extraction zones situated in the Congo area.

Coltan, a “Blood Mineral,” Human Rights Abuses and Environmental Concerns

In eastern Congo, major identified mines are currently controlled or under the influence of armed groups. The name of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR – a Rwandan militia led by organizers of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda oft comes up in discussions of these mines. But links with the Congolese army can also be found, as proceeds of mining are a hidden means of enrichment. Armed groups and military units are said to control over 50 percent of the 200 total mines (from the identified ones to the “salvage” mines scattered around the territory) in eastern Congo.

Most companies do not currently have a system to trace, audit, and certify where their materials come from. As such, all mobile phones and laptops may contain conflict minerals from the Congo area. NGOs, such as the Enough Project (8), have brought to light how mining populations live and work in the most excoriating conditions. With very poor wages and no rights whatsoever, mining populations are constantly under threat of death. The average wage for a miner is between $1 and $5 a day. (9) The mines are also filled with child laborers as young as 10 years old (10),whose smaller bodies can fit into the smallest and most dangerous tunnel holes. Another concern, as voiced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for instance (11), is the environment and the ecological balance of the area. Entire forests are being torn apart, destroying natural habitats and ecosystems. Chemicals have reportedly been thrown into the wild, with deleterious consequences for the water systems and soils.

II. Initiatives to Counter the Deleterious Effects of Coltan Mining and Trading: State International and Private Initiatives

The past decade has seen an increasing international focus on “conflict minerals” originating from mining operations in the DRC and adjoining countries. Armed and rebel groups have been linked to mining operations in this region. Moreover, scrutiny organizations have brought to light how workers and indigenous people are subject to serious human rights abuses, eco-systems are destroyed, and the proceeds from the sale of conflict minerals are used to fuel regional conflicts.

Scrutiny organizations have brought to light how workers and indigenous people are subject to serious human rights abuses, eco-systems are destroyed, and the proceeds from the sale of conflict minerals are used to fuel regional conflicts.

Governmental, industry and social issue-focused groups—such as the US Government Accountability Office, the OECD, the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) —have raised awareness of these abuses and bring about change in the field.

Dodd–Frank Section 1502 and the SEC’s Final Rule: A State Initiative

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) was signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.  Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act (12) directly concerns the topic of this paper: corporations and conflict minerals. Indeed, it intends to make transparent the financial interests that support armed groups in the DRC area. It does so by requiring companies using potential conflict minerals in their products to disclose the source of such minerals. The law aims to dissuade companies from continuing to engage in trade that supports regional conflicts.

On 22 August 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a final rule (13) to implement the new disclosure requirements required by the Dodd–Frank Act. This rule directly impacts 6,000 issuers and indirectly impacts many more private companies in the supply chain. (14)

The OECD Due Diligence Standards and the SEC’s Final Rule: An International Initiative

The OECD Due Diligence Guidance (15) is designed to help company managements avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral or metal purchasing decisions and practices. It includes a five-step framework that companies can use to create a responsible supply chain:

Laura E. Seay (16) argues that this well-intentioned but ultimately misguided provision has already had unintended consequences that hurt those it is supposed to help.

  1. Establish strong management systems
  2. Identify and assess risk in the supply chain
  3. Design and implement a strategy to respond to identified risks
  4. Carry out independent third-party audit of smelters/refiners’ due diligence practices
  5. Report annually on supply chain due diligence

The OECD Guidance standards are one of the only international frameworks available to this day to help companies meet their due diligence reporting requirements. It is not legally binding.

What are the limits of the Dodd-Frank 1502 and the OECD due diligence standards? Experts have pointed out many flaws of this act. In her paper, “What’s Wrong with Dodd-Frank 1502?” Laura E. Seay (16) argues that this well-intentioned but ultimately misguided provision has already had unintended consequences that hurt those it is supposed to help. In an effort to curb the flow of revenues that fuel conflict, 1502 has led to a de facto boycott on Congolese minerals given uncertainty over regulation and the impossibility of tracing certain minerals such as gold, or other minerals. Companies, such as Cabot and Stark, announced they would no longer buy Congolese Coltan. The result is that millions of artisanal miners are out of work, and the livelihood of millions more is put at risk. And there is no reduction in violence. The feasibility of traceability schemes in such an environment is most difficult. Also the dynamics and links of the conflicts to minerals must be reassessed, as the violence in the area seems not to have been deterred since the implementation of the law.

Millions of artisanal miners are out of work, the livelihood of millions more is put at risk, and violence has not reduced.

Last but not least, Global Witness, Enough Project and others (17) have voiced their concerns that associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) “have been seeking to undermine the implementation of Dodd Frank 1502.” Companies are not willing to go through hassling state or international organizations’ bureaucratic paper work systems, and this has adverse outcomes.

The Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative: A Private Sector Initiative

Founded in 2008 by members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) has grown into one of the most utilized and respected resources for companies. Over 180 companies from seven different industries participate in the CFSI today, contributing to the creation of a range of tools and resources including the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template, Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry data, and a range of guidance documents on conflict minerals sourcing. The CFSI also runs regular workshops on conflict minerals issues and contributes to policy development and debates with leading civil society organizations and governments. However, one must remain critical of such reporting. The general public has little means to really verify these statements and assessments, nor the content of the discussions.

III. The Business Case for Responsible Corporations Operating along the Mineral Supply Chains: Toward a New Paradigm of Credible Business Alternatives and Refined Product Life Cycles and Consuming Behaviors

The Possibility of Tracing Minerals –  Fairphone

To this day, close to 20,000 Fairphones have been sold worldwide.

Some businesses have been set up with the challenging goal of producing high-tech devices, such as telephones, without using minerals that could potentially be fueling conflicts in the DRC, or minerals extracted from areas where severe human rights abuses have been identified. This is the case of the smartphone enterprise called Fairphone.

Fairphone is a social enterprise that strives to develop a smartphone designed and produced with minimal harm to people and the planet. The company is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and is supported by the Waag Society, a foundation that aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, art and culture. The main motivation for founding Fairphone was to develop a mobile device which does not contain conflict minerals and with fair labor conditions for the workforce along the supply chain.

The project raised money for the initial batch of phones through pre-orders, reaching the required 5000 on 5 June 2013. The project proceeded to sell all 25,000 of its initial production run on 13 November 2013, via pre-orders, nearly a month in advance of the revised release date (mid-December 2013). A second production run of 35,000 phones was released for sale on 21 May 2014. To this day, close to 20,000 Fairphones have been sold worldwide. The company is thriving, proving the business opportunity and sustainability long-term wise. (18)

How does Fairphone trace back “conflict-free minerals”? Fairphone works with the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative (CFTI) to source tin from South Kivu in the DRC, and with the Solutions for Hope project to source tantalum from Katanga. Tantalum is extracted from the ore focus of this paper, Coltan.

Over the past three years, the program has aimed to demonstrate the following three points:

  1. It is feasible for downstream companies to establish supply chains originating with conflict-free mines in regions impacted by conflict;
  2. These supply chains can be independently validated as conflict-free, thus mitigating risks of in-region sourcing; and
  3. Leaders from civil society can support responsible sourcing from regions experiencing conflict and recognize companies participating in Solutions for Hope in order to complement to regulatory initiatives focused on transparency.

The intent is to create less waste by both increasing product life-cycles, and enhancing recyclability (or even bio-degradability) of the end product.

Recycling and Re-thinking Product Life Cycles – PhoneBloks

Another responsible initiative looks into rethinking how we consume products and establishing thoughtful product life cycles. It is the case of Phonebloks. Phonebloks – “a phone worth keeping”- built a holistic approach to end or reduce the various ethical and environmental problems existing in the consumer electronic markets. Their business models are based on the transformation from a flat to a circular economy with new production methods. The intent is to create less waste by both increasing product life-cycles, and enhancing recyclability (or even bio-degradability) of the end product.

Phonebloks first strived to transform the phone industry, which has manufactured products that are sold and repaired or replaced as whole-widgets, to products that are modular-based. The idea is that a modular-based product is easier to repair or upgrade without the need for whole widget replacement. This increases the life span of the product and reduces waste. Beneath this thinking lies the will to end planned obsolescence and reduce electronic waste streams.

Phoneblocks also embodies the Cradle-to-Cradle concept, elaborated by Michael Braungart and William McDonough. This entails an entire rethinking of the whole cycle of the product from when the cell phone is established, including production, utilization, consumption, and disposal. This rethinking starts as soon as the design and creation process where a better system of manufacturing is established, one that will ultimately replenish and restore the earth, versus destroying it. This new manufacturing process works in tune with people and the environment, rather than at odds with nature.

The Concept of Urban Mining: A Phone – a Mine

Nowadays, piles of discarded computers, phones, television sets, headphones, screens, and other devices are being thrown away. What if these stacks of e-waste were sorted through, their contents picked to pieces and eventually refined to retrieve the precious metals and traces of rare earth elements inside?

The United Nations Environmental Program estimates that every year 50 million tons of e-waste are generated globally. Metal deposits in e-waste are up to 40 to 50 times richer than ore extracted from mines. For example, one ton of gold ore yields about 5 grams of gold, but one ton of phone circuitry yields about 150 grams, 30 times as much. (19) Urban mining presents an opportunity to reclaim and recycle precious metals and REEs that are used in prolific consumer and communication goods. But opportunities are being lost  and corporations can seize them.

Just 15-20 percent of the world’s e-waste is recycled annually. E-Waste is being globalized, oft incorrectly managed in poor developing countries, where mountains of electronics wreak human and environmental havoc. However, if managed correctly in proper facilities, all these precious minerals contained in our phones could be retrieved, to be reused. As such, urban mining is the process of reclaiming compounds and elements from products, buildings and waste.

Phone companies do not seem to want to “claim back” their products. But if they did, the elements in their products could be extracted and re-enter the manufacturing process. This in-house dismantling, mineral extraction, and recycling process would generate a cost. However, this cost may one day be smaller than the cost of purchasing capacitors with integrated rare earth minerals. High-tech companies could also be “production sources” of rare earth minerals, thus breaking the dependency from the capacitor supplying entities.

Rethinking how we consume products and establishing thoughtful product life-cycles with transparent and traceable elements composing the end product is not wishful thinking.

Business opportunities are there and are supported by multiple examples. For the time being, businesses have only just begun to repurchase electronic devices, extract minerals, and recycle them. This is the case of Green Urban Mining, which “buy(s) used electronics.” Green Urban Mining is an emerging growth company in the booming e-waste recycling industry, employing a proven business plan for re-selling and recycling used electronics from consumers and non-profit groups nationwide. They provide a fair-market price to consumers for the purchase of their old cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. This prevents disused electronics from being dumped into public landfills, where their toxic components could pollute precious groundwater supplies and poison the local ecosystem.


A business case exists for electronic digital companies to create innovative, sustainable and responsible alternatives. Fairphone and Phoneblocks initiatives are a successful case in point. Rethinking how we consume products and establishing thoughtful product life-cycles with transparent and traceable elements composing the end product is not wishful thinking. It is manageable, with a bit of will. More than will, it is on one side a need, and on the other a thriving business opportunity for the private sector, too.

Phone companies have yet to “claim back” their phones, which carry very precious rare earth elements and are therefore real “urban” mines. It is also a concept, the cradle-to-cradle approach (McDonough, Braungart), where the entire life-cycle of a product is thought through as early as its design phase. Managing the repair of products, organizing the recycling of elements in-house, and reusing minerals is unprecedented.

Your smartphone, iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung, or laptop breaks down. What do you do with it? Throw it away? Where? The screen shatters: can you simply replace the screen without getting rid of the entire phone? There are gold, tin, tantalum, niobium and many more rare minerals inside – with a multiplying factor, one that repairs these phones is essentially collecting stacks of precious, rare and pricy minerals.

The rethinking of the ways we use products impacts all stakeholders of the digital economy, from states to industry, to civil society. More responsible agents must intervene at all levels. It is also a question for each and every one of us to examine. Yes, I wish I had a phone. I need a phone. But, I would like my device to be safe and “clean.” Does this necessitate the rise of a responsible citizen? Is empathy clashing with the individualistic societies as seen today? Initiatives here and there seem to show that ever more people are questioning past methods and willing to initiate credible sustainable and positive changes.



•     •     •


Joseph-Gabriel, Daphné. “Your Phone, Coltan and the Business Case for Innovative Sustainable Alternatives.” In Transatlantic Perspectives on Diplomacy and Diversity, edited by Anthony Chase, 171-181. New York: Humanity in Action Press, 2015.


  1. The “I” used in this paper should not be seen as an opinioned personal statement. The will is for it to attain a universal stature, where every reader can take ownership of this personal pronoun and better grasp the elements of the paper, presented in a more enjoyable reading approach. The article does not seek to dwell too extensively on proving the connections between cell phones and the conflicts in Congo. For one, extensive works already exist on this link. Second, this paper seeks to look more into the roles and consequences for corporations, and less on the geopolitical factors. A choice here has been made.
  2. The Congo and DRC both rank 154 out of 175 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International, How corrupt is your country? (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Frank Piasecki Poulsen (2010) “Blood in the Mobile” (Film Documentary). Produced by Koncern TV-og Filmproduktion, Denmark, in co-production with Chili Film, Denmark and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, Germany. Film premiered in Denmark on September 1st 2010
  4. World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement  (2014, March 26).  Retrieved from
  5. World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement (2014, April  17). Retrieved from
  6. Final Rules for Dodd-Frank Sections 1502 and 1504. (2012, August 23). Retrieved from
  7. Arafura pricing  (n.d). Retrieved from:
  8. The Enough Project, Raise Hope or Congo campaign. Retreived from:
  9. Blood in the Mobile, video documentary
  10. Blood in the Mobile, video documentary
  11. World Wildlife Fund, Report: Mining in the Green Heart of Africa, (n.d.). Retrieved from
  12. Dodd-Frank Act, (n.d). Retrieved from
  13. Final Rule Dodd-Frank Act, (n.d.), Retrieved from
  14. Conflict mineral reporting rules impact many public companies: New supply chain requirements and new Form SD (n.d.). Retrieved from
  15. Implementing the OECD Due Diligence Guidance – OECD. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  16. What’s Wrong with Dodd-Frank 1502? Conflict Minerals, Civilian Livelihoods, and the Unintended Consequences of Western Advocacy – Working Paper 284. (n.d.). Retrieved from’s-wrong-dodd-frank-1502-conflict-minerals-civilian-livelihoods-and-unintended
  17. Lobbying “seeking to undermine” Dodd-Frank conflict minerals legislation | Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  19. UNEP Policy Brief on E-Waste, May 2013 (


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