Science Conflict minerals blog post (safety)

Technology is an important thing in our lives, we all use it in our everyday life but it’s important to know how our technology is made.There are many important materials that go into our technology and those are Al-Aluminum, Si-silicon, Ta-tantalum, Cu-copper, Co-cobalt, Sn-Tin, Au-Gold, W-Tungsten and Anodised aluminum. A lot of miners can find all of these materials in Cerro Rico(Bolivia), Indonesia’s Bangka Island and The Democratic Republic of Congo. Carbon and Oxygen can be found in the phone’s plastics and its battery.Cobalt is a primary ingredient in the lithium-ion battery, slabs of silicone are used to make the chips in most technology.Now, the newest metal cases of iPhones are made out of anodized aluminum and tungsten, makes our phone vibrate. They use cobalt(batteries) because batteries include cobalt to improve the oxidation of nickel in the battery,  the use tungsten since Tungsten has such a high temperature it is used in many high-temperature applications.They also use copper because circuits and printed circuit boards increasingly feature copper in place of aluminum because of its superior electrical conductivity. As you can see there are so many things that go to our everyday material, so it’s important to take good care of our phones and computers because it’s actually hard to make.

There are many issues with mining but the one that I’m going to focus on is Safety. One of the big problems is when little kids are forced to mine. Miners are risking their life by mining in unsafe mines. Kids are also risking their lives by mining in deep mines in Congo. The oxygen in the tunnels are thick and there are many rockslides.  In the democratic republic of Congo most mining is done by hand, It’s a labor-intensive process that requires hauling away layers of dirt and rock, sometimes 50 feet deep, to expose ancient beds of gravel where the crystals are found. Pollution caused by copper and cobalt has poisoned most of the cities near mines in Congo. Which means that there are a lot of people that get a lot of sickness and birth defects. We know that a lot of miners are dying for our technology and in a site, it said,“Miners are risking their lives to provide you with your devices”. We also know that a lot of the mines aren’t safe because of this evidence, “It supports beams are split and cracked, and the air in the tunnel is thick.” As you can see there are many child labor problems but there also a couple ways to help.

Since there are many problems with mining safety we as a school can actually help in many ways. We can’t actually go there and help directly but there are many indirect ways to help. One of we can do to help is actually supporting the  Donors and UN agencies that are trying to stop child labor in mining. We can donate money to the agencies and Donors so they can help stop child labor in some of the conflict mining cities. There are actually a lot of agencies trying to stop and help child labor in mining. Another way we can help is if other cities stop buying or demand less gold because then there will be fewer demands for gold which mean that there will also be fewer demands for miners.Helping and getting involved with child labor mining problems isn’t and shouldn’t be that hard, like using fewer pads or technology so there will be fewer demands.

 

Citations:

Merchant, Brian. “Were the Raw Materials in Your IPhone Mined by Children in Inhumane Conditions?” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-merchant-iphone-supplychain-20170723-story.html.

“Democratic Republic of Congo City Poisoned by Years of Mining.” News24, 22 Aug. 2016, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/democratic-republic-of-congo-city-poisoned-by-years-of-mining-20160822.

Desjardins, Jeff. “The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an IPhone 6s.” Visual Capitalist, 10 Mar. 2016, http://www.visualcapitalist.com/extraordinary-raw-materials-iphone-6s/.

 

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