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Coltan Mining Fuels Conflict


Coltan mining continues to fuel conflict in the Congo. The largest source of coltan in the world is the Democratic Republic of Congo, a war-torn region of Africa that has traditionally produced up to 75% of the world's supply of tantalum, a mineral used in the manufacture of electronic capacitors and derived from raw mineral coltan. Among the many electronic and technological products that rely on tantalum are jet engines, computers, x-ray film, dvd players, gaming systems, cell phones, pacemakers and prosthetic devices.

The Congo's Coltan War

The Democratic Republic of Congo was established in 2006, after the First and Second Congo Wars, which decimated the population, exploited a variety of small mineral ore mining operations and diamond mines, and caused civil unrest until the first free election in 2006, when president Joseph Kabila was sworn in. He continues to preside over a bitterly divided country plagued by unrest, particularly in North and South Kiva, where Rwandan forces threaten the border. Other regions suffering violence include Ituri, northern Katanga and Dongo. A majority of the self-contained wars arise from struggles over who will control coltan mining operations and the resulting influx of money from countries in need of tantalum for capacitors.

Continued Unrest Has Negative Impact On Coltan Mining

Unfortunately, despite concerns expressed by the United Nations, much of the coltan mining in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) continues to be exploited by warring factions and military coalitions who take advantage of the local population. Throughout the Congo, there are a multitude of small, illegal coltan mining operations taking advantage of child labor and inferior coltan mining practices in order to remove a great deal of the mineral ore in a quick and dirty fashion. Because these mines aren't properly regulated, they can also have a devastating environmental impact on the region.

Despite criticism from around the world, most of the Congo's coltan mining operations are overseen by military juntas established in neighboring countries, including Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. None of these countries have natural sources of coltan, yet all have exported increasingly large amounts of coltan to international corporations around the world. In 1995, Rwanda exported less than 50 tons of coltran, but by 2008, they were exporting over 250 tons of the mineral ore despite having no coltan mines inside their borders.

Magma Coltan Offers Clean Coltan From South America

In response to the world's ever increasing need for tantalum, Magnum Coltan is mining and exporting conflict-free coltan from Costa Rica, one of the America's most stable countries. We're mining coltan responsibly, with attention to the environmental impact of our presence and respect for the coltan miners we employ. The stable economy of Costa Rica contributes to fair pricing and successful production of our product. We're proud to certify the composition and cleanliness of every shipment of Magma Coltan alloy while ensuring that we respect both local and international law. At Magma Coltan, we also protect and respect the human dignity of our employees and the indigenous population. To discover just how clean coltan mining can be, contact us at