Conflict raw material tantalum

How cell phones are killing gorillas

Imagine that someone comes into your home and tears everything apart. And the only justification they have is that they want to dig a hole in the middle of your living room.

That might seem far-fetched, but this situation has posed a serious threat to the Congo lowland gorilla for decades. Behind it all is the explosive growth in demand for smartphones and laptops, which need high-performance capacitors that contain tantalum. Tantalum is a very rare heavy metal that is extracted from coltan ore, a raw material that is primarily found in the Congo – just beneath the surface of the central African rainforests that are the habitat of the lowland gorillas.

Our smart­phones are stained with blood.

One thing we can do is get our old, discarded cell phones out of the drawer and back into circulation.

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