Tin fever, Bangka, Indonesia
76 images Created 5 Feb 2013
Thousands miners from all over Indonesia come to Bangka Island (Indonesia, Indian Ocean), to work under hard circumstances in illegal and dangerous tin mines. The island is devastated by this deadly tin rush, a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. Illegal tin causes environmental damage, injuries and regular casualties among miners. Most mines are exploited illegally and accidents occur. Every year between 100 and 150 miners drown in the sea, die in landslides or from diseases like malaria. Children as young as 3 have died in the mines. The island is covered by over ten thousand mining pits containing water poluted with heavy metals. Craters are everywhere: along roads, in the middle of the jungle and in gardens in front of houses. Offshore mining destroys the coral reef: the miners who work on the sea on makeshift rafts dig for tin by sucking the sand from the sea floor. Smartphone brands like Samsung and Apple decline all responsibility for the environmental situation in Bangka and refused to give transparency in their tin supply chain. The demand and price for tin have increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets, explaining the Tin rush. Indonesia is the worlds biggest tin provider, vital for assembling smart phones and other electronic products.