Map: Natural resources in DR Congo

Africa’s second-largest country, the main batteground for two regional wars, is rich with minerals from gold to uranium.

Congo map resources

Natural Resources in the DRC shows the country’s deposits of diamonds, gold, coltan, uranium, tin, copper/cobalt and oil

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Africa’s second-largest country – boasts some of the richest mineral deposits in the world.

Its uranium was used in the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945; today, its massive coltan reserves are used to make everyday electronic devices like cell phones. Yet for the people who live in the DRC, the minerals have often been less a gift than a curse. Violent armed groups exploit resource-rich areas to support themselves, often raping and killing villagers nearby.

And for the miners themselves, the job tends to be low-paying and dangerous. The Congolese state exerts nominal control over many parts of the country. As a result, the smuggling of valuable minerals across porous borders is widespread.

The DRC is holding parliamentary and presidential elections on November 28, but the country’s mineral wealth will likely continue to fuel long-simmering conflicts.