By Michael Nest

A decade in the past nobody other than geologists had heard of tantalum or 'coltan' - an imprecise mineral that's an important aspect in cellphones and laptops. Then, in 2000, stories started to leak out of Congo: of mines deep within the jungle the place coltan was once extracted in brutal stipulations watched over via warlords. The United international locations despatched a group to enquire, and its exposé of the connection among violence and the exploitation of coltan and different common assets contributed to a re-assessment of scholarship at the motivations and techniques of armed teams.

The politics of coltan surround insurgent militias, transnational agencies, decided activists, Hollywood celebrities, the increase of China, and the newest iGadget. Drawing on Congolese and activist voices, Nest analyses the 2 matters that outline coltan politics: the connection among coltan and violence within the Congo, and contestation among activists and firms to reshape the worldwide tantalum offer chain. the way in which construction and exchange of coltan is organised creates possibilities for armed teams, however the Congo wars will not be exclusively, or perhaps basically, approximately coltan or minerals more often than not. Nest argues the political importance of coltan lies now not in its causal hyperlink to violence, yet in activists' skillful use of cell phones as an emblem of the way traditional humans and transnational organizations faraway from Africa are implicated in Congo's coltan and for this reason its clash. Nest examines the demanding situations coltan tasks face in an activist 'marketplace' crowded with competing justice concerns, and identifies classes from coltan tasks for the geopolitics of worldwide assets extra generally.

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