A new legislation passed by America’s Congress is intended to curb the black market for minerals from the DRC and boost the legal one.
The recently signed Financial Reform Bill (HR 4173) contains Sec. 1502, which requires manufacturers to report annually to the SEC if their products contain “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The new law will apply to manufactured goods containing tin, tantalum, gold and tungsten, used in electronics manufacturing.
Companies will also be required to submit a due diligence plan with the company’s annual SEC report.The SEC has 270 days to finalize regulations to implement these requirements. IPC will continue to monitor the development of these regulations and to advocate for our members’ interests in this area.
More: IPC Statement on Sec 1502: Conflict minerals from DRC (electroiq.com)
Many of the rebel groups still fighting across swathes of the Democratic Republic of Congo are illicitly selling – apart from gold – cassiterite (used in laptops), coltan (mobile phones) and wolframite (light bulbs). Reducing the illicit trade will not bring peace, but it may help.
Companies that report to the American Securities and Exchange Commission now have to reveal whether they buy minerals from Congo or from any of its nine neighbours and, if so, from where. New regulations likely to be proposed by the State Department next year may follow guidelines being drafted by the UN and the OECD - “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chain Management of Minerals From Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas” -, a rich-country club, that will advise companies on how best to trace the origin of their materials.
More: Congo’s conflict minerals: Clean them up (Economist)
Some smelters, mostly based in Asia, as well as manufacturers such as Apple and Nokia, are sponsoring a pilot scheme – the “ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative” (iTSCi) – to trace the ore coming out of two particular mines to prove they can regulate the trade:
Big names in the electronics industry, including Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola Foundation, Nokia, Philips, Sony, and Xerox, have signed on as financial contributors.
More: Conflict Minerals: ITRI Supply Chain Initiative Fails to Address Major Issues (tantaluminvestingnews.com)
Great! And what about some peanuts-millions to start a foundation for all those women and girls and babies raped and tortured in this vastly mineral-rich war-torn and demoralized eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Just to give them back some sense of humanity? Self esteem? Future?