Making mining a little less destructive

This article appears in the Mining feature series. View the full series.
Clip from interactive map of artisian mining activity in the DRC. ( International Peace Information Service)

In case you missed it, Global Sister Report’s Middle East and Africa correspondent Melanie Lidman has a new piece on copper mining in Zambia that is certainly worth your time. Minerals are some of the most fundamental resources on the planet and mining them has become a lucrative industry. But usually where there’s money to be had, there’s also corruption, and that’s certainly been the case in mining.

In the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mining profits fuel regional conflicts, and several years ago, reports surfaced that Mexican drug cartels were eyeing a move into mining. The term “conflict mineral” refers to those minerals mined by such violent groups, and there’s been vocal pushback against using conflict minerals in popular electronic devices like cell phones and laptops. To help consumers make informed decisions about their devices, in 2012, the Enough Project published a report ranking electronics companies and their efforts to find alternatives to conflict minerals.

You can read the full report here and also see the graphic below for some its highlights. You can also check out this recently updated interactive map from the International Peace Information Service that shows mines in eastern DRC and any known connection to an armed group. Note: This map is in French.

Infographic created by Dawn Cherie Araujo using and with data from the Enough Project /

[Dawn Cherie Araujo is staff reporter for Global Sisters Report based in Kansas City, Missouri. Follow her on Twitter @Dawn_Cherie.]