Blood Phones?
By Carlo Longino, Wed Sep 24 16:45:00 GMT 2003

The International Criminal Court says it's going to investigate the financing of civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ICC will focus on the trade of so-called blood or conflict diamonds, but could also look into the trade of a mineral key to mobile phone production.

More than 3 million people died in the five-year war, which grew to neighboring countries as well, and many of the arms used were financed by the sale of diamonds and columbite-tantalite, or coltan, a highly conductive and heat-resistant metal used in making electronic components like capacitors, many of which make their way into mobile phones.

We first told you about the problem of blood coltan back in June, and described some manufacturers' efforts to keep their hands clean. But with so much of the world's coltan in and around the Congo, it's not inconceivable that some companies -- and even individual executives -- in the mobile industry could find themselves in hot water.