Ethnic Tensions, Tantalum, and the Effects of the Global Market
Jonathan Andrew Stewart Honig, Matthew Booth, PhD

The phenomenon of illicit wealth being used to fuel conflicts around the world is a well-known subject. Such wealth can come from a variety of sources including human-trafficking, the sale of narcotics, and the exploita-tion of naturally occurring resources. This last source, specifically of a particular mineral known as coltan (which is also known as tantalum, the refined substance derived from freshly mined raw coltan), is a subject which this article analyzes further. Specifically, this article will attempt to discern whether the discovery and/or presence of deposits of coltan/tantalum will exacerbate previously existing ethnic tensions to the point of violent conflict. In doing so, we utilize the Democratic Republic of Congo as our qualitative case study. Further, this article will attempt to analyze whether increasing global demand for tantalum will cause the value of the mineral to increase in a way which will potentially intensify previously existing ethnic con-flicts.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jppg.v8n1a1