Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: African poachers ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: African poachers
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: guru12345-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2003 20:54 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2003 20:54 PDT
Question ID: 248774
There is a mineral in Africa that is used in cell phones and animals
are being killed in Africa to get to the mineral.  What is the name of
this mineral?
Subject: Re: African poachers
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 26 Aug 2003 07:47 PDT
Hi guru12345,

The mineral you are looking for is: "coltan"  --  the word is a
contraction of "coloumbo-tantalite."

Coltan is an ore that contains the element tantalum, and is used to
coat components of electronic devices like cell phones and computers.

This UN Report examines the effects of the wars and mining of coltan,
diamonds, gold and cassiterite, on the wildlife populations of central

"The number of okapis, gorillas and elephants has dwindled to small
populations. In the Kahuzi-Biega Park, a zone controlled by the
Rwandans and RCD-Goma and rich in coltan, only 2 out of 350 elephant
families remained in 2000. There is serious concern among
conservationists that the rest fled of their own accord or were
killed, as two tons of elephant tusks were traced in the Bukavu area
late in 2000. Already by April 2000, about three tons of tusks were
temporarily seized by RCD-ML in Isiro."

Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural
Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the

This article provides a shorter overview of the same report:

Cell Phones, Elephants and War

Thanks for your question. I learned something new today!


search terms: 

mining mineral cell phone africa
Subject: Re: African poachers
From: politicalguru-ga on 26 Aug 2003 07:36 PDT
By definition, mineral is not extacted from animals: 
" naturally occurring, homogeneous inorganic solid substance having a
definite chemical composition and characteristic crystalline
structure, color, and hardness.
Any of various natural substances, as:
An element, such as gold or silver. 
An organic derivative, such as coal or petroleum. 
A substance, such as stone, sand, salt, or coal, that is extracted or
obtained from the ground or water and used in economic activities.
A substance that is neither animal nor vegetable; inorganic matter. 
An inorganic element, such as calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, or
zinc, that is essential to the nutrition of humans, animals, and
plants. "

Sounds to me like an urban legend.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy