When we have slanderous accusations thrown our way about how our minerals are sourced, we do our best to educate these confused individuals, but no verbal explanation can ever compare to written resources that can be documented permanently. These won’t be tantalizing articles that are “fun” to read, but they will cover facts about the modern day crystal & mineral industry, mostly pertaining to ethics. We may cover additional topics with our site’s blog, however, the most important focus for us will always be on human rights and ethics.
If you are not aware of what ethics (or the study of ethics) is, I have written a simple explanation below to help.
Ethics encompasses the morality of the choices that we make, holding us to “well-founded standards of right and wrong”.
I implore everyone to review this article by Santa Clara University, as they provide much more detail on ethics than I can here. It is not simple by any means, but very rewarding to have a better understanding of, whether you enjoy crystals or not.
At NDC, we very much agree that ethical standards “enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty,” and include “standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy.”
Please explore this article (and even their entire resource center on ethics) linked here!
We will not be replying to any messages that are sent to us regarding:
The lack of content, as we are producing as much beneficial and digestible content as possible (both on the website and on our social media platforms). This is just the beginning of our democratization of information regarding ethics as it applies to the mineral world.
Inquiries that are not based in fact or inquiries lacking in supporting evidence from unbiased and credible sources.
Accusations of Nationalism or Racism, as the reports we provide are purely educational and based in unbiased facts via credible sources.
(DRC, formerly Zaire)
It is common knowledge among an endless number of reliable sources that there exist “systemic human rights challenges in the DRC, such as child labor.” This is, naturally, very unfortunate, yet it is just the tip of the human rights iceberg.
Many more educational resources from unbiased and trustworthy sources will be coming to the page in the near future. Understanding of international politics and basic mining regulations is extremely lacking within the crystal/mineral community, and we will work very hard to help bridge the gap.
Taking a look at basic population statistics, you can immediately see that the DRC’s median age is just over half of the US’s median age, and their average life expectancy is just over 60 years of age. These statistics can provide data that backs a plethora of issues, i.e. poverty levels, civil conflicts, human rights, and the HDI (human development index).
As of 2019, the HDI is just 0.480, ranking the country in 175th place.
All of this information in mind so far, we haven’t actually discussed any tangible facts that tell us that the DRC has progressive mining standards, nor have we looked into any human rights concerns.
With very, very little governance, life in the DRC begins to look a bit more bleak. While there may be minimal laws and regulation regarding acceptable conditions of work (including a minimum wage), this does not mean that these laws are at all enforced by the government. In fact, according to an intensive 2020 report completed by the US Department of State, the governing bodies in the DRC rarely took punitive action on truly terrible acts committed by officials in power.
The government has, under harsh criticism for human rights violations and severe lack of regulation in the mining sector, made many revisions to mining law in recent years. Does this mean that conditions for workers have improved? Unfortunately, not necessarily, as government intervention amidst violation of mining law has been next to nonexistent. Even when the DRC made revisions to their mining code, they failed to include safety regulation specific to the mining industry.
“While most health and safety regulations are contained in the Congolese Labour Code, and are therefore not specific to the mining sector, the Mining Regulations do contain specific safety directives regarding the use of explosives.” - The Law Reviews
If desired, please review The Law Reviews’ credibility as a resource here
With what we have discussed thus far, we know that the Congolese government has made efforts to improve mining regulation and mitigate human rights violations throughout all sectors. We also know that egregious violations of the law are not being addressed by the government, nor are the more minor violations of the law.
There are many specific and more recent reports of human rights violations in the DRC, but we decided to begin this series with an overview and general information, so that we all start off with a basic understanding of the country’s governmental affairs.
But, we do realize that people, and therefore countries, may make mistakes! Despite the perception that the DRC has made improvements in recent years, their corruption index remains at 19 out of 100 (where 100 indicates no corruption, and 0 indicates entirely corrupt). The DRC has a very unfortunate history of systemic political corruption which does not appear to be improving as much as we would like to see.
Many countries that produce minerals and crystals will have racked up some allegations and human rights violations, including the US, Madagascar, and Brazil. The severity and credibility of these allegations and human rights violations does still need to be assessed and accounted for when deciding if a country or region can be sourced from “ethically.” When it comes to the Congo, more specifically the DRC, the human rights violations are very severe and backed with sufficient evidence.
At this time, NDC (Nature Direct Co) does not believe that the Congo is an ethical source for any mineral, especially copper and cobalt bearing minerals, such as Malachite.The most well recorded instances of human rights violations within the DRC have occurred in direct relation to the mining of cobalt and copper, and therefore the minerals that form at their behest.
As a community, we need to make concerted efforts to mitigate human rights violations, as difficult as it may be. Navigating these topics can be extremely confusing and overwhelming, which is why we are advocating for an inclusive effort to ensure our fellow human beings across the world are treated fairly and ethically. Please work with us to achieve this goal. If you know of additional information that would be beneficial to not only us, but others, please don’t hesitate to reach out via the contact form on the website! Please only reach out to us if you have credible sources to offer.
We acknowledge openly and fully that everyone (including us) can make mistakes - this report is not meant to be at all slanderous or misleading toward the Congolese people or their culture. This report was solely written for the purpose of providing unbiased facts and information regarding the ethics behind sourcing copper and cobalt bearing minerals from the DRC. We do not claim to be all-knowing or perfect and this report reflects the unbiased information that we were able to discover thus far in our research. Some of our opinion is reflective in this report, based solely on the facts that we presented here. You can trust that we have humanity’s best interest at heart, and only want to see a world where people can thrive and live together in harmony. We seek to help pave the way for ethics and moral sourcing in the crystal and mineral community.
Additional Info on Political Corruption: