Blood Coltan

Ratings: 8.33/10 from 79 users.


Blood ColtanThe mobile phone is a remarkable piece of engineering. But look inside. There's blood in this machine.

There's blood in this device because your mobile contains tiny electronic circuits, and they couldn't work without mineral called COLTAN.

It's mined in the eastern Congo. There is blood here, the blood of Congolese who are dying in a terrible conflict.

The West’s demand for Coltan, used in mobile phones and computers, is funding the killings in Congo. Under the close watch of rebel militias, children as young as ten work the mines hunting for this black gold.

Blood Coltan exposes the web of powerful interests protecting this blood trade. Meet the powerful warlords who enslave local population and the European businessmen who continue importing Coltan, in defiance of the UN.

More great documentaries

48 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Steve

    My question is, what are the alternatives? This documentary exposes a typical problem which has evolved from diamonds, coltan ect. The rebel armies who get rich and supply their troops, while the people who work the mines are satisfied with little and at times their lives. Tell me what guilt free phone I can purchase.

  2. Alejandro

    Very good content, although the video quality could be better. Thanks for this brilliant peace of hard work.

  3. Melody

    What did the people do for living before the mine came?

  4. CD

    So don't buy Mobile Phones. No Demand , No Supply. Basic Business.

  5. Kyle

    "That Which Feeds Me ..."

  6. aaron

    your purchasing habits are your only vote! you are not a citizen you are a consumer.

  7. art

    this is an economic product no one can stop anyone for taking them. its money!

    the only way to deal with it is for the UN to take it away from the warlords and gave it to the people of congo. where they will treat the workers right and your the money produce by selling the coltan to fed its citizen.

  8. Simon Young

    Highly interesting and a tough piece of work, so well done for that. Should there be 'Fair Trade' notices on all Mobiles using Coltan from suffering countries. Hopefully Nature it self will hold the answer.

  9. Phil Atio

    So stupid, I always hear stories about blood diamonds, blood this and blood that. No one ever talks about how half the governments are worst than the rebels and they can sell all the blood resources they want. Blood diamonds or blood sanctions mean that rebels cannot fight an unjustice government even if that government is committing genocide against its own people. The number 1 buyer of blood resources are usually the biggest in the industry. Ie. de beers buys most the world's blood diamonds because blood diamonds go for a fraction of regular diamonds and they want to keep up prices.

  10. William


  11. triplethrees

    Very interesting piece. Although unfortunate for the congolese, they are a product of global capitalists. Blame not the outsiders that fund this expenditure but the peoples that pass this ore onto western borders. At the end of the day, ask yourself one thing as a congolese native, "how will i eat today?"
    Then ponder your answer. Is it right? Obviously you know the answer. Let's put the corruption on the people that are exploiting their own. Ask and they will come!

  12. Ian D

    It’s a vicious circle, over paid corrupt executives of large corporations have to return dividends to their shareholder or they dump their stocks, Stock holders only care about increases at whatever the cost. If it wasn’t for our greed the Congolese and others in the same plight would be subsistent farmers and happy villagers as they were before.

    Western civilizations produce roughly 25% of the world raw materials, here or abroad and consume 75% of what’s produced, we are the consumers, and the rest get a set of clothes and a pair of shoes. The brokers laughed and said it clearly, “who sets the prices, you do”, “the whites set the prices it’s the world market”, it’s you. You’re the ones who make the telephones”. We can change if we listen to our hearts, it’s not easy and we might have to go without that newer version cell-phone.

  13. TheDocumentarian

    To Art:

    The UN will never completely step into the congo, in order to stop what is occurring there. The reason being, is it is much more profitable and in common interest world wide to keep them the way they are. Just think about it. If the slave labor, rapes and massacres were affecting American or European economies, don't you think they would have remedied that situation already? They don't want it to change, only the people want it to change, but is this any different from millions of other corrupted systems the UN or other worldly systems perpetuate? End the UN, run the European Unionists out! and imprison all of those in the US Government attempting to supersede the constitution - that would end world war for peace. Think about it.

  14. Soloman


    Most agreed.
    Very well said mate.

    That is what *needs* to happen.

    I often wonder if The People will ever give enough of a shit to get it done?

  15. Ron Burgundy

    Any mineral coming from Africa seems to soaked in blood and it seems like the UN and people that profit like it that way, it keeps the price low. Stability is bad for business so arms dealers sell to both sides.

  16. Jonathan

    Ironically cell phones (communication) are one the things that can help Africa’s economy. Also to be noted; if all the charity organizations where to collaborate with scientists and economists they could likely do at least 2 fold what they are now.

  17. Jonathan

    Agreed... except that I figure arms dealers sell to both sides simply for self interest (though the question is why do they get to), rather than being coerced (which is what I'm left to assume you meant by arms dealers wanting instability). Then I suppose they wouldn't mind the extra incentive.

  18. Bambi L'Amour

    The world bank loaned the Congo 1.7 billion in 2007 even though the Congolese are the 3rd poorest country on Earth, in return the Congo will sell it's resources for dirt cheap ensuring a windfall for the western corporations and constant poverty and economic slavery for the Congolese. Bastards.

  19. jezebel finkelstein

    me and my wife have one cell phone ive only owned one and im 29 and she has owned 2 she is 22 my phone is never on and is a prepay it has 20 bucks on it and we never ever use it cause its only use is when we break down on the road and thats never happened yet,im just pointing out that a phone is a waist of mony it cost 500 bucks and you have to pay 50 or more each month to use it...when people figure out that this is a waist of your money they will find out why they are broke

  20. jezebel finkelstein

    if people want to stop this type of stuff from happening first people need to remember your kids and family and friends should always be more important than anything else,food and water comes next,so on and so forth your favoret tv show is not as important as the things people take for granted to watch that tv show or ball for thought

  21. amenace4422

    They get to because its a "free market", "Capitalism" and we live in a "feudalism" system of governing, no matter the candidate chosen the people are screwed. "Pick your poison"

  22. comicboy

    I have a mobile phone like anyone else but its when people end up ahving like 3 mobile phones one for in school one for at home and one for going out to show off. so steve i donn't think u should be that guilty yes its wrong what they do but if u where in an acciden tu would want teh phone to call 999 would u not? so u should have a phone it jsut doesn't have to be like the newest blackberry or the newest Iphone just as long as you can ring home or ring friends when u need to then I don't see any problem with having a mobile phone if its an older one then it means that damage ahs already been doen so your not forcing soem 10 year old kid to mine for coltan are you as it my have been done years ago

    you should have a mobile phone but i do thnk that a lot of the money should go towards the the people of congo

    if anyone is looking at this then the person i am replying to is at the bottom of teh page please look at his thoughts on the matter

  23. comicboy

    do people really need the latest blackberry, samsung, Iphone no they don't as long as it can ring family and friends and 999 then its okay it doesn't have to ahve all this fancey applications and games or anything else jsut the absic mobile phone will get you through

  24. Luke Haywood

    I disagree. I would lose my job if I couldn't receive emails realtime on my Blackberry.

  25. Roberta Reyes

    This article says EUROPEANS are importing it, not Americans. Are we (Americans) using some sort of alternative mineral?

  26. taxfatcats

    Kleptocrats intend to degrade the entire world, to Africa's standard of slavery profiteering. Ottawa Canada is the west's capital slave trade, heroin sales boom - they're hiring the very mercenaries who make soldiers out of children in Africa, to conduct the same type tactics, now in North America, for their slave trade in mullah segeh and heroin sales.

  27. lbruncke

    CEO's Can

    You must tell the truth! You CEO's can!
    Then we can sit down and all make a plan.
    We don't want to guess!
    Just drop the B.S.
    Lies undermine the survival of man.

    Love and awe, Lora B

  28. Naught Aphool

    So then... How isn't the smart grid a blood grid?

  29. Naught Aphool

    Also can the writer of this article please provide us with DETAILS that enlighten the consumer, such as freshly mined versus recycled Coltan is placed in which name brand products manufactured by which corporations with what kind of track record, so that we will be able to tell the woloves from the sheep when computer and other corporations tell us that THEIR products do NOT use freshly mined Coltan and that THEIR products use entirely recycled Coltan (like this is ethically okay?) Most important? Are smart meters, smart routers, smart aggregators, all of which use killer microwave frequencies no different than those used by the military, using freshly mined minerals to create a global smart blood grid? Thought so. Does China use Coltan? Please name countries, corporations. We have TREMENDOUS powers of boycott to stop technocracy's planetary destruction under the banner of "green" right now and being ethical as well is certainly a perk. Life AFTER recovery from illegal wireless electrosmog and personal wireless addiction can be truly wonderful.


    still going to buy that stuff but do wish there was another way

  31. tbar


    the world is a lunatic Pit

  32. screaminjay

    But why is this "conspiracy". No conspiracy here, it is what's going on.

  33. Ron Maynard

    its a conspiracy, not a theory.

  34. N

    There is no god. Get use to it . Your death will only be silence.

  35. Jabranpin

    The devil resides in London and has bases in Zurich, Paris, New York, Washington DC and Toronto.

  36. B1

    The producers of this program did a great job of exposing the corruption and exploitation in the congo . They did it by going into peoples homes under false pretenses with hidden cameras and outright lie. The journalists put these people in grave danger by showing their faces. Journalists care about no one by themselves and their own careers.

  37. MalOdour

    The UN would have to be the biggest waste of money countries pay into , they stand around and play games with their own rules as people die.

  38. Brendan

    Capitalism is the problem, fools. Anarchism (libertarian socialism) is the way forward (and Americans, before you react, read a book, maybe?)...

  39. kittybrat

    Europeans import this and it goes to China, which makes the phones that the United States uses.

  40. rudeboi

    If you think the demons of this planet are gonna let Black people dead or alive stand in the way of even a single dollar, well, you either just landed here or you were born last night.

    You can call it capitalism if you want, but prefer to call it what it is; racism/white supremacy. People of color on this planet is of no consequence to any kind so-called progress. That's just the big and the small of it. Look at Merika right now. RACE, RACE, RACE and which race ain't winning.

  41. Maarten Hoedjes

    There is a Dutch company called Fairphone which sells phones that are as ethical as is in Fiarphone's power to make them. They are transparent about their production process and also are say honestly that, like the documentary says, it is hard to check where your coltan or cobalt comes from.

  42. Alex Q

    Capitalism has spawned a demon child named 'POP (Profit Over People) culture' where humans have become consumption-bots who worship celebrities and brand names. A society of children raised by the Television.

  43. Wondering

    You comment makes your own words meaningless and to have no effect. Why even type?

    With your argument, there is nothing, will be nothing, and you are already dead. You are just living out your own death.

    You words only bring out the realization that you think very little of yourself.

    If you say otherwise,I will respond: What will you think in 100 years when your dead?

    My answer: Nothing. You are dead.Time will pass and are you going to live forever?

    Death becomes you, I say. Beware. those thoughts!

  44. Dee Dee

    "4 million people dead in 13 years". I live in a country where the population is less than 3 million.

  45. shmer

    nothing, that's why they got that job, although it is a terrible job

  46. Richard Neva

    I would give up my cell phone if this carnage would cease. I really hate my cell phone anyway, it is just a tool for the banker society of America to rip off everybody!

  47. mike

    i would agree with u if u were not incorrect. How can u sum up such a horrific situation as just racism. You telling me that of the 4 million people who died, none stood up to fight for freedom. I know it sounds extremely optimistic, but aint sit ever gonna happen unless there is a collective force of action taken by those being suppressed. No matter how much the UN tries to intervene, the people must know there worth as a collective being, and opposed the few who suppress them. I am sorry but a country of millions upon millions of persons being run by a few evil men with arms.....

  48. malik

    The problem will go away once the value is taken away, thus the problem that is the source is the demand for the product.

Leave a comment / review: