Coltan

PhotographerJudith Prat
PrizeSilver in Press / Feature Story
Entry Description

80% of the world’s reserve of coltan is found in the east of the DR of Congo, a fundamental hiperconductor mineral for the development of the new technologies such us mobile phones, the production of computers, videogames, weapons intelligence, aeronautical industry, etc. The country has been plunged into a extremely complicated conflict with as a many 20 different armed groups operating in North Kivu and South Kivu, which are fundamentally financed by controlling the mines. The working conditions of the miners are extremely tough and dangerous, given that the extraction of the mineral continues to be done in a traditional way. Many miners internally displaced within the conflict, come to the mines leaving other more violent zones, with the intention of finding a way, however precarious, of survival. They must face a 15 hour working day, the danger of constant landslides in the subterranean tunnels where they often lose their live, traveling on routes for many hours transporting on their shoulders 50 kilos bags of coltan down a steep and slippy hill. All of this for hardly seven dollars a day. The work that is being presented by me was done in april and September of 2013 in Rubaya, North Kivu, in the Nyagane mine. This project tries to call attention to the working and living conditions of the miners and to how the plundering of the mineral wealth is the main cause of the perpetuation of the conflict in the DR of Congo.

About Photographer

Born in Spain. Photographer and lawyer specialising in human rights. I am interested in documentary photography and photojournalism; in recent years I have taken pictures of different themes as a means of denouncing inequities, such as the living conditions of prisoners in Panama´s jails, the consequences of the economic crisis for immigrants living in Spain or the desperate situation of people living in refugee camps in the East of the DR of Congo. I have published pictures in different national media such us Heraldo de Aragón, El Periódico, Periodismo Humano, Diagonal, Global, as well as online magazines such us GEA Photowords. My photographic work has been exhibited in several Spanish cities (Zaragoza, Barcelona, Huesca, Valencia..) and I have been selected for international festivals of documentary photography and photojournalism, such as PHOTON 2012 or PICS 2013. I have just been awarded in the XIII Seminar of photography and journalism in Albarracín.