Do You Have Blood on Your Phone?

A young African man carries a sack of wet cobalt at a mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Blood Phones” are the new “Blood Diamonds.” The global economy puts an abundance of electronic devices at our fingertips, but leaves the stain of blood on the hands holding them. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, armed groups make money to purchase weapons from the mining of minerals that are vital to the manufacture of consumer electronics. Several million Africans have died in conflicts there from war-related causes.

A group of “conscious consumers” that has had enough is raising the awareness of consumers and companies alike of the tragic circumstances associated with “conflict minerals.” Conflict minerals are metals such as tin, tantalum, and tungsten that are mined in the African nation with monies earned from the trade going to support one side or the other in the ongoing war. In August the Enough Project released a report ranking the largest consumer electronics companies—makers of electronic gadgets, including smartphones, that are marketed worldwide—on their efforts to foster trade in conflict-free minerals. The goal of the project is to persuade corporations to revamp their global supply chains so as to reduce or eliminate reliance on conflict minerals.

The companies that scored highest were Intel, Motorola Solutions, HP, and Apple. Enough’s scorecard is based on the percentage of its recommended actions that each company has implemented. However, according to Enough, there is still no way to guarantee that electronic devices have been manufactured without any use of conflict minerals. It plans to keep up the pressure on the consumer electronics industry while also focusing on other economic sectors where conflict minerals unfortunately play an important part: automotive, jewelry, mining, industrial machinery, and retail. In a related development, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a new disclosure rule regarding use of conflict minerals.

Image Credit: © Schalk van Zuydam/AP Images

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  1. Nyla says:

    at first thought it was wierd but then when i read it more it got more interseting

  2. Shay says:

    It seems like slavery to me

  3. jesse james says:

    i was there

  4. yelluh belly 354 says:

    i am the boy in the picture….. good story

  5. dex says:

    wow and alot of people use “blood phones”

  6. Katt says:

    wow interesting story wonder what they are gonna do about it….!!

  7. Katie says:

    If you need a new phone, do your homework! find out what you’re really buying! Is your fancy phone worth lives being ended?

  8. someone says:

    this artical was hmmmm

  9. giavanni says:

    i liked this artical just a little bit

  10. arana says:

    i dont like this photo

  11. Anonymous says:

    i wish i had a phone bloody or not

  12. john says:

    i wish i had any type of phone since my mom threw it out the window

  13. #SWAG says:

    Didnt get it the first time

  14. gator42 says:

    This story was interesting, but terribly sad.

  15. laura says:


  16. Zach says:

    why would someone do that or even take a picture of that?