9.01.2010

Zimbabwe Stones and Conflict Minerals

In the Diamond Mine:
Surprise, surprise - Zimbabwe mines might not be completely conflict-free! Its been reported that in various diamond mines in the south African nation of Zimbabwe, human rights abuses are occurring - ranging from the killing of over 200 individuals, to beatings, to forced child labor. The Kimberley Process says these mines are operating at 'minimum standards'...minimum standards?! If killing is considered a minimum standard then what is considered illegal? What constitutes blood diamonds if killing doesn't? Thankfully, a world diamond trading group said it would expel any member who trades with the two Zimbabwe mines in question. Although this is just one of the many diamond groups in the world...it's a start. As a side note, I find it quite funny that over 900,000 carats of diamonds were being auctioned from Zimbabwe, just to be stored up in a warehouse to keep the price of diamonds high. Another auction of diamonds is set to take place in September where an estimated 1.9 billion dollars of diamonds will be sold. According to the article, that is "one-third of the national debt or almost the government's entire spending in the national budget" (read the full article). I don't know about you, but the diamond industry sickens me. I find it stupid that people pay such a huge sum of money for a stone that results in the death of another person. I've taken a vow to never wear a diamond...ever. I even refuse to wear false diamonds. I can only hope that one day soon blood diamonds and blood minerals will no longer be an issue. But until then, I'm signing petitions like this one to reform the Kimberley Process and refusing to support the diamond industry. 

Conflict Minerals in DRC
A few months ago, the buzz about conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo began (read more). A recent Wall Street reform forces manufacturers to try to identify any conflict minerals that may stem from the war in the Congo (read the full article). Although the manufacturers must disclose the use of conflict minerals, that does not mean that companies must stop using them. That is up to the consumer (you!) to decide. Urge electronics companies to begin using conflict-free minerals in their products by signing this petition. Remember, there wouldn't be conflict minerals if the demand wasn't so high. It's up to us to urge companies to ensure the minerals are obtained in a peaceful manner. 

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