Despite being home to $24 trillion worth of untapped mineral reserves, the Democratic Republic of Congo remains one of the least developed countries in the world.
Conflicted: The Fight Over Congo’s Minerals investigates the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Section 1502, added in 2010, which requires publicly traded companies to track whether their products contain ‘conflict minerals’ from the DRC.
Fault Lines’ Anjali Kamat travels to the eastern hills of the country, where tantalum, tungsten and tin are mined by hand before making their way into electronic devices across the world.
She discovers that after the law was passed, the mineral trade in eastern Congo came to a standstill, as buyers took their business elsewhere.
“We are working now at 20 percent of our normal capacity,” says John Kanyoni, managing director of Metachem Sarl. “[We've lost] a lot of money... Those who did that feeling that they helped Congo, they didn't help Congo at all. It harmed thousands and thousands of Congolese.”
After finding evidence of fraud and smuggling, Fault Lines questions why advocacy groups who campaigned for Section 1502 claim it has been a success, and if some of biggest brands in the tech industry should really be claiming to be sourcing “conflict-free” and taking credit for reducing violence in the DRC.
Congolese journalist Caleb Kabanda worked on the documentary as Fault Lines’ fixer, while another local journalist and photographer, Pascal Bashombana, helped with research, pre-production and translation. Kenyan Franklyn Odhiambo also contributed to the translation and transcription.
The 37th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards are being held in New York next Wednesday, 21 September 2016.