Conflict Minerals

This unit, for science we studied about the materials and elements that were inside the technology that we use at school everyday. I researched about iPhones although if you have something from the same company for example Apple, iPhones, iPads and computers would have the same material it’s just the size of the material that is different.

Apple makes most of the technology that use everyday at school. They rank highest out of all companies that make this type of technologies. It is used to call, search, and write about things. For example when the phone is vibrating to call someone, this is coming from the element W (Tungsten). The most used elements on the iPhone are gold, tin and aluminium. The average cost of the iPhone is 299$ but it depends on how new or old the iPhone is.

There are still a lot more elements that are used inside our iPhones. For the case, aluminium is usually used because it is really hard so it is good for protecting the other materials inside but also its really thin which makes it easier to hold. For the camera, Apple uses sapphire because sapphire is really hard which would protect the camera from being damaged. Tin is used for soldering which helps the wires to keep in place and have no gaps. On the screen the elements used are indium and 7 different types of rare earth metals which will help the touch screen and colours work. Rare earth metals are needed inside these iPhones but these materials are also really hard and dangerous to find. China is the place where you find 90% of these metals but you can find these metals in some other places like Congo.

Materials used in are iPhones:


Aluminium-Extra protection


Sapphire Glass-Hard camera protection







Gold-Conduct electricity

Circuits-Lanthanum, Praseodymium, Neodymium, Europium, Gadolinium

Solder-Silver, Tin, Copper

(Phosphorus, Silicon, Antimony, Arsenic, Boron, Indium, Gallium)

Sound and Vibration:



Speaker-Dysprosium, Gadolinium, Praseodymium, Neodymium

(Iron, Boron, Nickel)


Produce colours-Yttrium, Lanthanum, Praseodymium, Europium, Gadolinium, Terbium, Dysprosium


Touch screen-Indium

Solder-Tin, Copper, Silver

(Potassium, Aluminum, Silicon)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is actually one of the countries that are trading conflict minerals illegally. 45,000 people die a month because of mining or trading illegally. This is a very big population and it has risked a few thousand people’s lives for mining. Also the money that was achieved by everyone was also lost because they had to refund money from wars and actually lost 2/3 of their money because of it.

Although it is a positive affect for us to have more technology, the people who are mining for the elements mostly in Congo are not getting the payment that they deserve and are also risking their lives to mine for all these materials that are inside our iPhones. Most of these people are bing forced, by gun pointing, life threats or being physically forced and not volunteering to mine so they can provide food and houses for their families. 

All around the world, millions and millions of people are being forced to mine so Apple and other companies could make more and more devices. The way our community could help is for YIS to use less technology resources for example if we have one type of technology like computers, we should’t have iPads and we should be more careful about the devices that we get for our school so people can keep using the same devices. This would help because if we don’t buy as many devices, the company wouldn’t make more and more devices because they would just have a lot of extra. Therefore the minors wouldn’t have to be forced to mine more and more because people aren’t buying as many devices.


Rivera, Alex. “Conflict Minerals Infographic.” Conflict Minerals Infographic. Venkel Ltd., 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

“Mining Your IPhone.” Mining & IPhone Recycling. 911 Metallurgist, n.d. Web. 33 Nov. 2016.

Desjardins, Jeff. “The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an IPhone 6s.” Visual Capitalist. Visual Capitalist, 10 Mar. 2016. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *