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Lack of infrastructure has often been cited as one of the main reasons for the conflicts in eastern Congo. The mining areas are hard to reach, mining work is done by hand and simple, makeshift tools and the miners are almost entirely comprised by the (often enslaved) local population. Farming is difficult, because of the lack of roads to bring the produce to town and crops are often stolen by the local militias, so many are forced to turn to the mines for a stable income. Yet business is booming in the cities and supply can never satisfy the great demand for coltan and tantalum, which is extracted from it.

So how come mechanized mining has never developed there? The demand being so high, means better connections and equipment could increase the throughput and therefore the revenue. The Business has generated local and foreign revenue, so there should be no lack of capital for reinvestment. A better infrastructure would also make the region more secure, therefore holding PR value for western firms using coltan. So the incentive is there both for businesses and the government. Even the militias would benefit from more efficient mining. How come this has never come to be - neither after the Congo crisis nor after the civil war?

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    This might be more of an economic than a historical questions. I am not an economist, but it seems to me that the prerequisites for a capital-intensive industry are different from a labor-intensive one, requiring a higher degree of development with regard to political stability (e.g. policing, public infrastructure), legal frameworks (e.g. property owner and share holder's rights), and financial systems (banking, availability of credit). From what little I know, these prerequisites aren't even approximately met in eastern Congo. – njuffa Oct 20 '16 at 22:41
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    Very few questions that ask "Why hasn't X happened?" thrive. I suspect in part because they are speculative and counterfactual and on the margin of the site conventions. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 21 '16 at 12:10
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    The short answer: checkout what King Leopold ll of the Belgians did to the Congo in the late 19th & early 20th century. – Peter Point Oct 21 '16 at 12:43
  • I did my checks on the Congo Crisis and colonial Congo, but ethnocides aside, the infrastructure was better developed then, than it is now. Colonial roads were not maintained after the 60ies and the civil war in the 90ies gave them the rest. – Matthaeus Oct 21 '16 at 21:05

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