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The Violence Behind Congo’s Mineral Trade

The lack of state authority coupled with abundant natural wealth in Congo allows armed groups to control mines, to control taxation routes, and to make tons of money. And in the case of eastern Congo we estimate that armed groups make anywhere from $100 to $180 million last year from taxation and trade in illegal minerals.

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MARCO WERMAN: Yesterday Hilary Clinton was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She traveled east to a war zone to speak out against rampant sexual violence there. But she also focused on the causes of the conflict. That includes Congo’s lucrative minerals trade. Armed groups in the east fight to control the mines and then use the proceeds to fund their operations. The World’s Jeb Sharp reports.

JEB SHARP: Congo’s mineral wealth is legendary. Its mines supply some of the most valuable metals in the world including tungsten, tin, and coltan. And the United Nations as well as advocacy groups have long documented the way the trade in minerals there fuels the conflict in the eastern part of the country. Colin Thomas-Jensen is with the advocacy group Enough.

COLIN THOMAS JENSEN: The lack of state authority coupled with abundant natural wealth in Congo allows armed groups to control mines, to control taxation routes, and to make tons of money. And in the case of eastern Congo we estimate that armed groups make anywhere from $100 to $180 million last year from taxation and trade in illegal minerals.

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