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"Welcome to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the warzone that helps make your iPhone."- Foreign Policy Magazine

"Welcome to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the warzone that helps make your iPhone."- Foreign Policy Magazine

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Blood and gold an FP photo essay Blood and gold an FP photo essay Document Transcript

  • Blood and Gold Welcome to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the warzone that helps make your iPhone. MAY 12, 2011Mining is big business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it is at the forefront of the global debate over how toend the violence in this war-torn country. Congos riches, including enormous deposits of gold, diamonds, copper, andcobalt, may not have initially instigated that countrys decades of war, but they definitely are keeping the battleraging, 8 years after the war was officially declared over.Above, a worker stands on a mound of dirt at an abandoned industrial mine on March 28, 2006, in Mongbwalu, in
  • Congos volatile northeast corner.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesMen sift through buckets of dirt while looking for gold in Mongbwalu. 11,000 pounds of gold are mined annually ineastern Congo. Gold fetches about $15,000 per pound on international commodities markets, generating huge profits forthe armed groups that control the majority of mineral mines in eastern Congo, often forcing local villagers to work forthem. In 2008, these groups earned an estimated $50 million from the mineral trade.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Workers dig at a gold mine on Feb. 23, 2009 in Chudja, in northeastern Congo. 5.4 million people died due to fightingand humanitarian crisis in the Congo from 1998 to 2008, and about 45,000 more are killed every month, according to theInternational Rescue Committee. This is the highest death toll from a single conflict since World War II.LIONEL HEALING/AFP/Getty Images
  • A man stands in a pool of water at the Chudja gold mine. Congos mineral wealth doesnt end with gold. The country hasabout 4 percent of the worlds copper and a third of its cobalt. And the mining industry is growing. In 2009, Congoproduced 300,000 metric tons of copper. By 2015, that amount is expected to increase to 1.9 million tons.LIONEL HEALING/AFP/Getty Images
  • A boy rests next to his battered bicycle after riding nearly 50 miles along dirt roads in Mongbwalu. Congo has virtually nopaved roads -- a 50-mile trip can take up to seven hours by car, isolating communities across the country. Thegovernment has recently begun a five-year, $600 million renovation of its rail lines to help develop the miningindustry.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Men dig through dirt and mud while looking for gold at the abandoned industrial mine in Mongbwalu. Thousands ofCongolese scrape together meager livings from mining. Despite Congos mineral wealth, the country is $13.5 billion indebt, and 71 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • A man pushes his motorcycle up a dirt road in Mongbwalu.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • A young boy takes a break from mining gold at Mongbwalu.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Men work at the Chudja mine.LIONEL HEALING/AFP/Getty Images
  • A local miner breaks up rocks in a gold mine near Mongbwalu.LIONEL HEALING/AFP/Getty Images
  • Mongbwalu miners walk home along a dirt road.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Men mine for gold on March 27, 2006, in Mongbwalu. Working in mines is dangerous, and workers are poorlycompensated. For example, the diamond industry is worth about $900 million annually and provides work for 1million people, but many diggers earn less than $1 a day.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Children play on the streets of Mongbwalu. 42 percent of Congolese children aged 5 to 14 are child laborers.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • A Mongbwalu boy mines for gold.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • A woman carries wood along a dirt road in Mongbwalu. The shocking statistics on rape and violence in the Congo -- 48rapes occur each hour -- have attracted international attention, including boycotts by many U.S. companies of Congoleseminerals. But there has been little concrete action from the U.S. government, other than the State Department allotting$17 million for medical care, legal support, and counseling for rape victims. All of this may simply push Congo closertoward trading partners like China (which signed a $9 billion "ore-for-infrastructure" deal with Congo in 2008)who may care less about human rights and corporate social responsibility.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • 1899 L STREET NW, SUITE 550 | WASHINGTON, DC 20036 | PHONE: 202-728-7300 | FAX: 202-728-7342FOREIGN POLICY IS PUBLISHED BY THE SLATE GROUP, A DIVISION OF THE WASHINGTON POST COMPANY ALL CONTENTS ©2011 THE SLATE GROUP, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.