‘…the sheer weight of the combined aspirations and lifestyles of 500 million Europeans is just too great. Never mind the legitimate desires of many other billions on our planet to share those lifestyles... We will need to change the behaviour of European consumers. To work on people’s awareness and to influence their habits.’ Janez Potocnik, European Union Commissioner for Environment (March 2010).
Five years ago Bisie was jungle. Located in the Wailikale territory, east Congo, it is now a cramped township as a result of the discovery of cassiterite, a derivative of tin that is a crucial component in the circuitry of many modern gadgets. It’s in your mobile phone, laptop, digital cameras and gaming devices.
Cassiterite is widely sought after and very valuable. Indeed, our demand for consumer electronics has resulted in a price surge for tin ore. Prices on the London Metal Exchange have increased from around US$ 5,000 per tonne in 2003 to mor