The Macbook Air
The macbook air (13-inch) is an electronic produced by Apple and costs $999. This is the technology I decided to look into for conflict minerals. The start of this project, we looked into Congo’s conflict minerals and mines. These are unhealthy, horrible places, most being controlled by warlords and crime bosses. Many of these mines are now controlled by the US and other major countries, promising they will make the mines safe and sanitised.
These mines are used to get elements such as tantalum, gold and tin. Tantalum is used for batteries because of it’s electricity storing capabilities. Tin is used for soldering. Finally, Gold is used to coat wiring because of it’s conductivity. There is more gold in a pound of technology than a pound of gold ore! Some extra minerals are used in make technology. For example, tungsten is used in phones to create the buzzing notification. These are also mined in conflict mines.
After the minerals are mined, they often get smuggled to neighbouring countries to get transported to place to be purify. Places which include Thailand, India, China and Malaysia have factories to purify these materials. After the minerals get transported for manufacturing. All these materials are used to improve our technological life, but affects the mines in Congo.
The effects on the miners in the Congo can be catastrophic. First, they are forced to mine can minerals for no money. This causes no income for the family. Also, these mines are unsanitized like stated before. This causes many diseases to be spread through the mines. These are only some of the effects we have on the miners.
Impacts of the Technology
These conflict mines generate approximately $185m every year because of our consumption. Most of the money goes to armed groups controlling the mine (causing these mines to be called conflict mines). As stated before, many of these mines used to be controlled by warlords. All of the mine’s money are used by the warlords because of the high demand for technology, and nothing goes to the miners.
Technology can cause air, water, heat and noise pollution from use. Also, technology consumes non-renewable resources, for example gold in circuit boards. Even some renewable resources are being over consumed, for example wood. Also, when throwing away, electronics expel toxic gasses, destroying the environment and hurting people. For example, lead, mercury and Beryllium.
Buying technology might impact the government more than the company or private individuals. If people buy a type of technology and it becomes a big trend, governments need to follow and get the technology because many people are making important creations only on that device, but this causes the government to be vulnerable to hackers and leaks.
The US guarantee clean mine. Therefore, many mines before were dirty and unsanitized like stated before. This causes disease to be spread around the mines. Because of powerful countries overtaking the mines, safety standards are gone up and there are now standards in all gold mines. This is very useful for miners because of disease being stopped.
As consumers of technology, we can stop the problems of conflict minerals. Spreading awareness and bring people together, we can demand free-conflict minerals. Some sites have already started this to finally stop conflict mines. Sites are spreading awareness about the conflict mines. For example, raisehopeforcongo.org.
Enough Project. “Conflict Minerals | RAISE Hope for Congo.” Conflict Minerals | RAISE Hope for Congo. Enough Project, 2016. Web. 23 Nov. 2016. <http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/content/initiatives/conflict-minerals>.
News, BBC. “DR Congo Minerals: Most Mines ‘conflict Free’ since US Law.” BBC News. BBC, 10 June 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2016. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27782829>
World Gold Council. “Gold Mining Safety Standards.” Gold Mining Safety Standards | World Gold Council. World Gold
Council, 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016. <http://www.gold.org/gold-mining/responsible-mining/safety>.
Conflict Minerals 101. Dir. Robert Padavick. Prod. Jeff Trussell. ENOUGHproject. ENOUGHproject, 18 Nov. 2009. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.<<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF-sJgcoY20>
911Metallurgist. “Mining Your IPhone.” 911Metallurgist. Neo Mammalian Studios, 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2016. <http://neomam.com/infographics/mining-your-iphone>
Apple. “MacBook Air.” Apple. Apple Inc., 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016. <http://www.apple.com/macbook-air/>