File 01 - Defining Conflict Minerals


We must begin to address the issue of conflict minerals by defining what they are. The first and simplest definition we can give is that conflict minerals are those linked to a conflict or human rights abuses and violations.

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There was a shift in geopolitics following World War II and the fall of the Berlin wall and the Eastern bloc, with the access and control of natural resources emerging as a major cause of conflict.

According to “From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment” (UNDP, 2009), since 1990 at least eighteen violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources, with at least 40% of all intrastate conflicts linked to this same cause.

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