Video: Are Phone, Computer Materials the New "Blood Diamonds"?

Are mobile phones and computers the new "blood diamonds"? Do we need to bring heavy scrutiny to how the rare minerals used in high-tech gadgets are mined and produced?

It's an issue raised in our Wednesday hour about women in the Congo and the role of rare mineral mining that helps fuel the bloodshed that continues to afflict that country.

The Enough Project is an advocacy group that seeks solutions to genocide and crimes against humanity. (One of our guests today, David Sullivan, works for Enough.) Their spoof video highlighting the issue has gotten a lot of buzz. Here it is:

A Wired magazine reader asked Apple CEO Steve Jobs about Congo and the minerals used in the IPhone 4.  In a rare direct response, he wrote back the following in an email (Wired posted the exchange):

We require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict few [free] materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure. Until someone invents a way to chemically trace minerals from the source mine, it’s a very difficult problem.

What's your view?

This program aired on August 4, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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