Chilean of Mine

Los 33

After spending 69 days buried underground, it’s time for the 33 Chilean miners to start a new chapter in their lives, which will be forever marked by this experience. As the country and world celebrate their endurance, a few hard questions are in order. First of all, they all should be financially compensated by their employee for the ordeal, while the glare of public scrutiny and the global attention are still on them. One also hopes they’ll sign lucrative publicity deals very soon to assure their families a comfortable life. Above all, Chile will need to revaluate carefully its reliance on a national strategy heavily dependent on mining, against the threat of natural disasters, the damage to the environment, rising health care costs and the ultimate loss of human life commonly associated with such ventures.

Blood Calls

Your Cell Is Funding
Child Slavery in Congo

You’re certainly already aware of this but it’s always worth repeating it: an essencial composite mineral used in our cellphones, laptops, mp3s and even Sony’s Playstations, is mined by workers as young as 11, laboring in subhuman conditions under the watch of implacable AK47-clad guards, in the African war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo since the middle 1990s.
Sold at top dollar, the extraction and trade of tantalum, a combination of columbite and tantalite known collectively as coltan, has the same nefarious effect the infamous blood diamonds have at the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Both are hightly profitable trades carried on by corrupted army and paramilitary forces, with the tacit approval of local governments. It’s hard to understimate the millions they make out of our Continue reading