Clare Hawkridge reports for Al Jazeera: Without minerals to make a living off of, young men are joining militia groups. Money quote:
These disruptions inevitably have an impact on artisanal miners. In the DRC in particular, alternative livelihood options are limited. Formal employment is extremely scarce in the face of protracted instability. Agriculture - normally an option in fertile areas such as the eastern DRC - requires a level of stability that may not be possible when people have no reason to suppose that the place they plant crops will not be a war zone by the harvest-time. Mining provides a quick return on the investment of labour. When mining becomes unreliable, people seek other ways to survive.
Joining militant groups may be an attractive alternative, particularly for ex-combatants. Of course, military groups will also eventually be affected by a waning mineral trade, but they are likely to be able to keep making money for longer because they have greater access to markets, including through non-legal market channels. They are able to find ways of making money from other sources, such as, to use a recently emerging example, logging.