I wanted to find out what would be the impact of a single company buying all the production of thousands of artisanal miners, an exclusive buying right justified by the production of conflict-free minerals.
Last year, rode motorbikes for hours to reach remote villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I talked with anyone who’d speak to me, and crawled in deep muddy mine shafts.
I found that mineral prices were kept artificially low and when miners protested, they got arrested. Mineral traders suddenly had to work illegally and under great risks. The whole village suffered.
Have a look at my article, photos and recorded interview on IRIN’s website: Who pays the hidden price for Congo’s conflict-free minerals?