Posted in 28/08/2008

Coltan is a mineral that is made up of niobium and tantalum. It is a very strategic mineral and is used to produce computers, in the aerospace industry, intelligent guns and implants. The main producer of the mineral in the world is Australia and it is also found in Brazil, Canada and China. But 80% of the world stock are located in the oriental area of Kivu province, at the Republic of Congo, near the border with Rwanda and the area of the gorillas of the mountain.

The area is occupied by milicians from Rwanda and the illegal trade of coltan, which is not produced by the country, results in US$ 250 million for Rwanda Army every 18 months. Burundi and Uganda armies, also in the borders, participate of the poaching of coltan too.

Kahuzi Biega National Park, in Congo, is in the middle of coltan exploitation. Two hundred fifty-eight gorillas used to live there and now the population is reduced to 130, due to hunting and to the intensive devastation caused by mining.

According to Maria Cristina Rosas, from PGS – GAP Spain, who has studied this situation, Dian Fossey, the one who discovered to the world these magnificent beings of the mountains and had been murdered by hunters, would die again in the war of coltan exploitation, probably by the hand of illegal groups involved in the conflicts.