Bill Hsiao/Student/Pacific American School

Coltan, a precious mineral found in the Congo in its mass mineral reserves, is basically another form of gold in worth. Also known as Columbite-Tantalite, the mineral is dominate in Columbite, thus, the “ Col ” part of the coltan. When the mineral is dominate in tantalite, it is just known as tantalite. At its peak price, it can fetch around 850 US dollars per kilogram. It's a key component in capacitors today found in laptops, iPods, and other electronics today.

It is so valuable because it is heat resistant and high permittivity. The Congo situation is that other forces are going into the Congo and plundering the land of its vast mineral reserves and other resources. It is estimated that the Congo holds 80% of the world's Coltan – an advantage to the Congolese if the government and the people can harvest it for themselves – and also a disadvantage – because other nations will set their sites upon this goldmine of wealth.

Coltan, a valuable mineral with dramatic price spikes – is becoming a part of our everyday life as we incorporate more electronics and more dependent upon them. Every kid in the modern world owns some form of electronic entertainment – whether it be a game console, computer, or a cellphone – all contains coltan. Cellphones, cameras – all contain coltan. Coltan is all around us. While we thrive in a world of technology, Congolese people are dying every day because of the virtual lack of state and its inability to provide for its people.

Congolese people die at a rate of 47% higher than other African countries. The cause of death are simple diseases that mankind had overcome years ago and are easily preventable and curable – such as malaria, diarrhea, infections, etc. The average Congo man lives half as long as the average Japanese man – the average life expectancy in Congo is 42. Africa , with various unstable regions caused by colonization from the 18 th century to the 20 th century – left the countries abruptly with no infrastructure. If the Congo could utilize its own resources then it can provide basic needs to the people such as protection against crime and protection against diseases.

The surrounding countries and their military presence is what's threatening the Congolese people and their security – they're exploiting all of Congo 's resources – these proxy armies that the governments hire – specifically, Uganda , Rwanda , and Burundi . By simply mining coltan, these proxy armies can finance themselves in wars. If no intervention happens then they will never leave. It is imperative that the presence of these outsiders be immediately evicted. Congo is a country rich in resources and wealth – and can easily sustain itself if there were nothing keeping the country and its people from doing so. If the people united with the aid of the world, it can form its own government, remove the outsiders from its borders, create a solid foundation and provide care for its people.