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Old April 23rd, 2004, 07:43 AM
alanb alanb is offline
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Here is some stuff about Tantalum in the real world. It's not nice. Please avoid flame wars about all this.

This is an excerpt from:
"Victim’s Licence
Our fairytale version of Rwanda's genocide has allowed us to overlook the
government's own crimes against humanity
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 13th April 2004"
...
"By 1999, the "Congo Desk" of the Rwandan army was generating 80% of the
Rwandan military budget - some $320 million. This is the equivalent of 20%
of Rwanda's gross national product.2 The money came principally from two
sources: diamonds and coltan. Coltan is the ore from which tantalum, the
expensive metal used in mobile phones, is extracted, and almost all of it
comes from the DRC.

Sixty to seventy per cent of the coltan exported from the eastern Democratic
Republic of the Congo, the United Nations reported in 2002, has been mined
"under the direct surveillance" of the Rwandan army. Most of the rest was
produced by subcontractors and companies answerable to the army or to other
departments of the Rwandan government.3 Kagame's people, in other words, had
a near-monopoly on global coltan production."
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