There is an abundance of natural resources situated in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, including high-valued minerals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which are important components of everyday products like cell phones, iPods, refrigerators, jewelry, airplane components, automobiles and more. These minerals have been used for decades by artisanal miners in the Great Lakes Region of Africa as a primary source of income. Over one million artisanal and small scale miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo depend on the informal mineral trade alone, and although artisanal mining is characterized by low financial returns and heightened health and safety risks, a lack of alternative livelihoods continues to fuel the trade. The informal artisanal sector is also prone to corruption and criminality, and for years minerals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, have been used by armed groups in the DRC and neighbouring countries as a source of financing.