Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

July 11, 2008 -

The PlayStation 2's requirement for a rare metal in its manufacturing process helped fuel a bloody, decade-long conflict in Africa's Democratic Republic of Congo, according to an investigative report on Toward Freedom.

The site alleges that demand for coltan by Sony and other personal electronics manufacturers led Rwandan troops and Western companies to exploit the people and mineral resources of Congo, with children often forced to work in mines.

Oona King, a former member of the British Parliament, told Toward Freedom:

Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms. 

So, what is coltan? From the report:

After it is refined, coltan becomes a bluish-gray powder called tantalum... [which] has one significant use: to satisfy the West’s insatiable appetite for personal technology. Tantalum is used to make cell phones, laptops and other electronics made, for example, by SONY, a multi-billion dollar multinational based in Japan that manufactures the iconic PlayStation...

Researcher David Barouski commented:

[The] PlayStation 2 launch... was a big part of the huge increase in demand for coltan...  SONY and other companies like it, have the benefit of plausible deniability because the coltan ore trades hands so many times from when it is mined to when SONY gets a processed product, that a company often has no idea where the original coltan ore came from, and frankly don’t care to know. But statistical analysis shows it to be nearly inconceivable that SONY made all its PlayStations without using Congolese coltan.

A Sony rep told Toward Freedom that the company now takes steps to ensure that it does not use coltan illegally obtained from Congo in its manufacturing processes.


Comments

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

only one percent of the worlds coltan comes from africa so its really unlikly that ull get products with coltan in it

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Tantalum is nummy!!!

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Hey people are dying in crap hole third world countries... Who knew?

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Okay, i give up.  i will send my PS2 back to Congolese..Now i'll go out and get a PS3...

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Less QQ more pew pew! Better buy Xbox360. Microsoft would never allow this type of behaviour!

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

 

                                                                   The entire world knows what’s going on in Africa, do we care? Of course not or we would no longer allow this type of genocide to continue. We all made a promise after WWII to never let this kind of evil happen ever again weather it be Darfur or this latest tragedy out of the Congo. Now that we have entered the 21st century we have taken 2 steps back. If we continue to allow big business to dictate our future then we are destine for doom as a species. For big business only cares about financial growth and an economical society that benefits them. The cost of our children today and tomorrow are sadly hidden in a closet with a very austere future. We could kill each other for what ever senseless reason but the children should be protect. We are handing them a bleak future so why do we need to punish them for it as well? The excuse we use is turning our heads and saying it’s not our place. Let me ask this, whose place is it? We need to make Sony and other companies who use the excuse “we didn’t know” to be held accountable. They do enough product research to ensure the product sells why they can’t do a little research about where there supplies are coming from. It is time SONY and other companies that are smart enough to be multibillion dollar companies to stop playing dumb. They should be held accountable for there actions or the fate of mankind will be in the palm of the CEO’s. Think about the things we allow done unto our children and then ask, would the God of any faith that is righteous and good turn away from us in time of need? Then why do we allow it to happen to our children to whom the words Mother and Father are God in there eyes. Wake up world and get right before the human race is dammed and not just stupid!            

 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

http://periodic.lanl.gov/elements/73.html

Get a clue noobs. The world is what it is. Anyone who bashes Sony for this, oh by the way I hate Sony for making horrible mmo's, is a pure moron. Tantalum is used to manufacture many many things. Do you own anything made from aluminum????? How about a cell phone, TV set, Radio. I'm sure there is something on your car that utilized tantalum in some way. If you are so self righteous you need to get rid of everything you have and go live in a cave. And, by the way, don't harm any animals! And while your at it stop exhaling carbon dioxide!

 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

SWEET!!

I'm gonna go buy 3 more PS2's!!!

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

I would not have expected any other answer from a dumb @ss. 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Im gunna buy 3 ps2's and 5 ipods - those buggers need the work to buy gruel. "Dumber @ss"

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Wowzers.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Until the governments of African nations clean up their act and create viable and enforcable laws to prevent this tragedy it will never end. You can blame the consumer all you want but in the end it is the GOVERNMENT of that nation that ALLOWS this to occur. When are we going to hold those people accountable for thses atrocities?? Don't blame Sony, the consumer or anybody else for having a need or desire for a rare metal or product. The United States was just as bad about child labor and the absolute deplorable conditions that existed in factories all around this country during the industrial revolution. But ultimately we recognized that this could not happen and created laws to prevent it. Now, don't tell me that it will not work, if we could do it so can they. The difference is that you want it to work, you want your country to be a better place for its citizens. Morally bankrupt governments will never make though, and sadly, many of the African nations are led by individuals that care only about their station in life and that of the few that have the resources and ability to influence them while the rest of the country wallows in abject poverty. This is the real tragedy here.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Are you a looney toon? Cause thats some of the funniest shit I ever heard. This has no basis in fact and can be construed as slander.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Let me guess you work for Sony or did not read the entire story "Dumb @ss".

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Let me guess, you're a "Dumb @ss" and believed every word some biased journalist wrote. You did no research to see what this ore is, what it's used for or what it's made into. Did you bother to check to see who else might generate a market for this stuff?

So who is to blame for dying children in Africa? Demand for product or those who supply it in such a fashion?

The fact that you are using a computer to spew your insult convicts you as being one on the demand side. you are not just part of the problem - YOU are the problem - "DUMB @ss"

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Sooo, videogames do cause violence .

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Yeah and stupidity dumb @ss.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Why is the word war thrown around all the time Playstation War, Gang Wars, and The War on Terror. Just call it for what it is the act of killing to obtain something you don't have but they do. if you look at human history you see it every where romans did it the crusadurs did it and everyone else in history did it. history is not recorded because some one dicided to attack some else no it was made because someone decided that they wanted something that someone else had and whould not give up so what did they do they attack them for it. END OF STORY FOLKS!!!!

 

 

"What good is the customer if you have nothing that they want"-Unnamed wise man

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Omg, they are using kids for over who know how meny years now to dig for gold, diamonds nad other metals and ores that are 99% used only for jewelry and aren useful to humans in any way. On the other hand PC's Cell Phones, PDA's are useful to people in everyday life. So dont flame SONY becouse SONY isn't only company that uses coltan for their devices. So just slap some old bitch wearing 10 pounds of jewels, and dont waste time here.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

im sorry, but it seems to me like we dont want any blame.  im a gamer myself, owning 2 pc's 2 Ds's a 360 gamecube original xbox, etc. but the blame for this is the entire chain of hands.the people who take the coltan from the children, the people higher up for not verifying the source.and it it also our fault, we being gamers, for closing our eyes and saying " Sony fix it."  We cannot afford to be children, or maybe we'll be the ones dying in mines so others can have a higher standard of living.  the blame lies on the entire human race, because in reality, most of us will x off this pae and forget about this.  People have both angels and demons within them, but when you close your eyes and pretend nothing happensyour angels allow other peoples demons to  run rampant.  We gamers love to think, so maybe stop thinkking about how to beat Halo on legendary and instead how to save these kids.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

As a few posters have already said, the use of this mineral spans a whole range of electronic products.  In fact, when I first heard of it half a decade ago, the things at the top of the list that used it were "Laptops" followed by "Cell Phones".  All and all, pointing at Sony seems rediculous.  It might have been the world's favourite console for a time, but I'm pretty sure there were more laptops, cell phones and other portable electronics outselling it.  It is (or was) a bigger problem then they're making out out to be, so why are they limiting it to the PS2?  Just so they could make their stupid "aliens" joke?

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Why don't you damn gamers stop killing imaginary aliens and real African children and read a book.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

BRAVO! that was the best answer I heard so far.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Don't blame this all on playstation, most to all electronics use coltan anyways.

although, i was never a playstation fan so, blame it all on playstation! 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Get a clue dumb @ss the children are more important then a rear metal.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

OH GOD WHAT DID I DO

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Nothing, just go back to sleep ZOMBIE.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Oh yes, so the solution is to stop buying things.  Anything.  Come on, anything valuable will be contested, and if an unstable country happens to have resources of value, bad things will happen.  What is needed is to help stablilize war torn regions and, as Sony says they have done, try to limit the price of war/slave-labor/conflict produced commodities by segregating them from the global market. 

 

Western consumerism is not to blame here, for once; this is just a product of global markets.  It's unfair to paint a picture of rich kids playing games at the expense of poor African kids in mines.  Would you still think it wrong to buy Tantalum if it were being used for MRI machines? 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

You seem to have some smarts, however if you were a child in the Congo you would not think the same would you dumb @ss? We are all to blame.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Just a pedantic point; Coltan is a mineral, not a metal. The wikipedia article states that it contains tantalum and niobium - tantalum being the metal used in electronics. Tantalum is available pretty much throughout the world, and isn't exactly 'rare' - just the mineral is.

Point being that this Coltan is not some key to electronics, it's merely one way to get tantalum out of many. If this is a real issue (and it certainly appears so) why not prohibit purchase of coltan ore from the effected countires?

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

This is disgusting, i live in Africa and multimillion dollar companies are not the issue it's the fucking governments installed in this continent. The problem is that institutions that make these reports do not understand how Africa works and most of them have never been in Africa in the first place. If they are so fucking charitable why don't they do something with the root of the problem instead of going for the end. I have a PS3, PSP, Wii and 2 PC's and i refuse to stop buying stuff because they tell me that they are fueling wars. Wars are not fueled by demand for electronics or oil or whatever is in demand, they are fueled by stupid people who wage them and by even stupider people who support and elect the former.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

" Wars are not fueled by demand for electronics or oil or whatever is in demand"

Yes they are. They are fueled by greed and money. And how do these people get money? By selling oil or some other commodity that someone somewhere will want for a large bit of money. Look at all the wars America has raging at the moment - they are even going to start one with Iran for their "weapons program" or some bullshit.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

People in africa dies all the time for our wellfare, nothing we can do about it either. Just pray that you don't respawn there in your next life. Oh and bashing me won't help em either if you wanna do something bout it do it, don't go rambo with the keyboard at some random dude on the web, go there and help em out yourself.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Accoriding to wiki, in an episode of the Sarah Conner Chronicles, it's mentioned that "the endoskeleton of the Termniator machines is made using alloys derived from Coltan to make them hardened to heat."

We must stop this from happening! Quick! Everyone! Throw your PS2's, Ipods, camaras, cars, PC's, mobile phones, pacemakers, in a big pile o' fire and... Oh, never mind. I forgot. You can't stop the future from happening, only post-pone it.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

hey look more bull crap for Fox news to talk about how aint that nice..

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

The only smart thing to reply here is "dumb @ss"!

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

 Electronics... such as Sony's Playstation 2. And everything else in the damned world.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

How cute. Apparently they support the UN small arms eradication program which has funded various genocidal massacres throughout the region carried out under the guise of disarming the civilian population (which makes them even easier to kill later..), but those playstations are just eeeeevil!!

Stupid hippies.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

I'm sort of supprised by the number of people who are essentialy arguing "It's already on the shelf, so I might as well buy it, regardless of whatever evil went into its manufacture."

What a juvinile and naive way to rationalize things.

At any given time a certain number of goods need to be available for sale.  Any time you buy a consumer item you are causing another item to be manufactured to replace it.  The only exception is products that are being end-of-lifed, and even then you're adding to the sales expectations for the next version.

It doesn't take a super brain to figure out that if people stopped buying something, the manufacturer would stop manufacturing it.

Unless you're salvaging your Playstations (and your ipods, phones, GPS, etc) from a junkyard then you can not logicaly excuse yourself by saying "It's already manufactured. Doesn't matter if I buy it.".

 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

You know what, you're right! But since other companies probably attained the same metal from the same place, let's all just stop buying anything electronic until we lag behind the world in technology, all because there's a miniscule chance it came from an African country that, had it not been producing this metal, would probably be busy killing each other.  Children are used for everything in Africa, and you not buying a PS2 won't make a difference.

I find it hilarious that the most naive people came on here to call others naive.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

You're putting words into my mouth. 

I did not say that we should stop buying Playstations and other electronics. I fully intend to keep buying them myself.

I just pointed out that the most common argument being used here is complete hogwash, and it's supprising how many people don't realise that.  You might as well say "It's OK to buy stuff because of magical pixies." for all the sense it makes.

 

 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

For clarity : I am not arguing that the people who use that argument have reached the wrong conclusion. I'm just saying that the argument they used is juvinile and naive. 

I was simply expressing suprise that no one had called them on it yet.

 

 


 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Well, from this article, it seems to imply that SONY was responsible...

 

 

But the real truth was that SONY did not know where the mettal came from, so it is the African company's fault for exploiting children so they could sell the mettal to SONY, not SONY's fault at all.

 

The fault of SONY is not realising where the mettal came from, also that can be the same for any other electronics company.

 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Gee Mr King,  I've never been blamed for the worlds problems before.  Get in line.

Reading 0 on my give-a-fuck-o-meter. 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

 Sounds like someone has an agenda. Anyone who would purely believe this crap without question are naive.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Also, anyone who has ever smoked Heroin supported 9/11. (poppy farms in Taliban controlled and current Afghanistan lol) 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

And in response to Tom's post earlier (this is late, sorry!):

We should be focusing on changing the present, not boycotting what was done in the past.  Again, boycotting doesn't work anymore, as there is no limit to the number of consumers that will pay for a product around the world.  Active change is needed to undermine the 'corrupt' system that is prevalent in the Congo.  Let's focus less on who was in the right, and a little more on where we go from here.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

I'm not saying to boycott what was done in the past.  What I said is that if I knew when I bought my PS2 that there was a chance, even a 1% chance, that a child died to create it I would never have purchased the thing because I can do without a PS2.  I believed that any reasonable person would do the same, but apparantly I'm wrong about that.

I'm honestly disgusted by the comments on this post.  The selfish arrogance, the naivitee, the tunnel vision, the corporate whoring and fanboyism - it's pathetic.

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Tom, what you should be disgusted with is your own stupidity.

>1% was taken from the Congo.  Now, distribute that over EVERY ELECTRONIC DEVICE IN THE FUCKING WORLD, and you'll realize that chances are equally good your phone, computer, car, and TV have this rare mineral from the Congo.  So what are you going to do, reject technology because you might have a metal attained from Child labor in the Congo?  Hate to break it to you, but you're extremely naive; most countries in Africa subsist of the labor of their children.  Diamonds from Africa, Metals from Africa, and wars in Africa, all done predominantly with children. 

It's not Sony's job to have to verify that its not from the Congo when they don't get the metal firsthand; its the distributors' job.  It would be impossible to figure out where the metal came from, just like its impossible to take that pound, dollar, euro, yen, whatever you use, and figure out who had it 10 hands before it touched yours. 

 

 

Re: Report: Rare Metal Fueled African "PlayStation War"

Why must this always degrade into insults?

 

-If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we'd all be livin' large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard Medical School researchers Larry Kutner and Cheryl Olson

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...
 
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