iPhone’s True Cost: Coltan Wars, Air Emissions, & Miscarriages

By: Drew Bowling - March 30, 2012

On paper, an iPhone 4S will run you as low as $199 if you hitch up with a wireless carrier contract; picking up one free of a contract will pump that price up to at least $649.00.

Excepting the monthly utility bill you’ll need in order to use the iPhone as a phone, that’s how much it costs you, a consumer. Not so terrible, really. But the total human cost of that slick device is shockingly steep and adds a much graver, even unconscionable tax to the device. For instance, there’s the human toll required to mine coltan, or columbite–tantalite, which is a dull black metallic ore that is capable of holding a high electrical charge. If you have any kind of electronic device – and if you live in the developed world then you almost certainly do – it’s got some coltan in it. More, every single iPhone to roll off the production line contains coltan.

What’s more, the mining and value of coltan has perpetuated a bloody, extended conflict in the Congo. Check out what two reporters from Vice found when they took a trip to investigate the origins of the contentious ore.

Do you see how this is going to add up yet?

The folks over at MBAonline.com put together a jarring inforgraphic that explores the further human cost of putting an iPhone together and delivering it into your back pocket or purse. As if to lessen the poison you’re about to eyedrop into your eyes, it is made with impressive 8-bit mastery, so there is that. But still. Good luck this weekend not envisioning a splattering of blood all over your iPhone this weekend.

Created by MBAonline.com

[Via Geeks are Sexy.]
Drew Bowling

About the Author

Drew BowlingDrew Bowling is a staff writer for WebProNews. He never met an all-you-can-eat buffet he didn't like. Twitter: @bentfortherent Google: +Drew Bowling

View all posts by Drew Bowling
  • Joseph

    Don’t they make an APP to adjust that image ?

    LOL