Global Policy Forum

Minerals in Conflict - Archived Articles



Rwanda Army Masses on Congo Border (November 28, 2004)

Rwanda has deployed thousands of troops along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claiming that Hutu militias are mobilizing to attack. Others, however, say Rwanda only seeks to protect its economic interests in the DRC. Kigali exploits valuable minerals such as cassiterite and tantalite through close cooperation with rebel proxy force, RCD-Goma. (Observer)

Greed in a Time of Cholera (September 21, 2004)

In the town of Walikale in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the rebel group RCD-Goma controls the lucrative cassiterite trade with disastrous consequences for the local people. The work is dangerous and many are dying of cholera due to lack of clean water and available treatment from humanitarian organizations forced out by a debilitating lack of security. Walikale is a "Wild West border town" marred by a black-market economy and exploitation of people and resources, and "controlled by whoever has the most guns." (Independent)

Spurred by Illness, Indonesians Lash Out at U.S. Mining Giant (September 8, 2004)

Buyat Bay residents are fighting the Newmont Mining Corporation over environmental abuses that have lead to local diseases and deformities as well as a decline in the fish population. The fight raises questions "about how rich multinational companies - especially those that extract resources like coal, copper and gold as well as oil and natural gas - conduct themselves in poor nations." (New York Times)

Rush for Natural Resources Still Fuels War in Congo (August 9, 2004)

Exploitation of valuable minerals such as cassiterite is fueling conflict in the DRC. In Walikale, a town in Eastern Congo, Rwanda-backed RCD rebels and the Rwandan Army have developed an efficient system transporting resources out of the area and funneling troops and arms in. (Reuters)



Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Spring 2002)

International competition for scarce resources in general, and for coltan in particular, is a key factor in the lack of state stability and the continuation of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (SAIS Review)

Cellphones and Strife in Congo (December 5, 2002)

Natural resources that begin in war-torn countries often end up on store shelves in developed nations. According to the Christian Science Monitor, many people in the US are vaguely aware that the coltan in their cellphones might be linked to bloodshed in Congo.

From War Zones To Shopping Malls (October 17, 2002)

Millions are dying because insatiable consumer societies import natural resources regardless of their origins. Companies and rich nations that benefit from cheap raw materials such as coltan, diamonds and wood turn a blind eye to this humanitarian crisis. (Worldwatch)



DRC: Mixed Reaction to UN Report on Resource Exploitation (November 22, 2001)

Officials of the DRC reacted angrily to the allegation that Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia are participants in the exploitation of natural resources. They challenged the veracity of the UN report, claiming that the aforementioned countries intervened at the request of a legitimate DRC government. (IRIN)

The Looting of Uganda, Sanctions and Congo-K: Who is Who in Uganda Mining (June 6, 2001)

The proposed UN sanctions on Uganda--for looting minerals in the DRC--will likely be ineffective, as western nations have significant business interests in Uganda and western leaders and investors continue to be friendly with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. (Africa Analysis)

The Looting of Congo (May 29, 2001)

The war in the DRC serves the economic interests of some Western companies and financial institutions, criticizes this editorial of the New York Times.

UN Panel on Congo Exploitation Calls for Embargo Against Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda (April 16, 2001)

The report of the UN panel on the illegal exploitation of natural resources says that the three countries systematically exploit Congo's resources like coltan, diamonds, copper, cobalt and gold and urges the Security Council to impose sanctions. It also recommends considering international prosecution of individuals, companies and government officials. (Associated Press)

US: Confronting Conflict in West Africa (March 21, 2001)

The US has been notoriously absent from the security problems of Africa, but an escalation of fighting in West Africa into Guinea - where the US has substantial mineral interests, could lead to a shift in US policy. (

Vital Ore Funds Congo's War (March 19, 2001)

The Washington Post reveals the important position of col-tan, a mineral used to manufacture cell-phones, in the financing of the war in the DRC. The business of col-tan brings even more money to the Congolese rebels than gold and diamonds.



Raiding the Treasure House: Oil and Mineral Extraction in the Colonization of Tibet (October 13, 2000)

This report by Project Underground describes China's ongoing attempts to colonize its western provinces. The new wave of resource extraction will aid the Chinese government's population transfer policy, heighten the marginalization of Tibetans in their own country, increase militarization in an already volatile area, and promote environmental degradation.

Freeport McMoRan-A Pit of Trouble (July 31, 2000)

With the fall of the Suharto regime, Freeport McMoRan's shady dealings in West Papua were exposed to the world. The question that remains is whether the company will effectively implement its new human rights policy and pay reparations to the injured, or whether Freeport's operations will continue to be a source of violence and contention. (Business Week)

Mineral Riches Fuel War, Not The Poor (June 18, 2000)

Timber, oil, diamonds, take your pick of the natural resources responsible for fueling conflicts. This article details several different situations in Africa and Cambodia. (Observer)

Afghanistan's Emerald Heights (July 25, 2000)

"Conflict ‘Emeralds?'" The mountains in Afghanistan are being mined for emeralds to be added to the war chest of Ahmad Shah Masood, the commander of the last significant resistance to the Taliban. (Christian Science Monitor)

Irian Jaya Declared Independent (June 4, 2000)

West Papuan separatists have declared their independence from Indonesia, claiming that the 1969 UN-sponsored annexation of the province was illegitimate. Indonesia's unwillingness to allow the secession of the province is undoubtedly linked to the existence of the Grasberg mine, one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world. (BBC)

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