Conflict-free smelters now available for all four conflict minerals
Tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold all available from audited smelters
The Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), an initiative on conflict minerals of the tech industry association the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), announced that, for the first time, there would be audited conflict-free smelters or refiners for the four identified conflict minerals: tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold, representing an important development in the movement to develop a clean minerals trade worldwide.
According to Raise Hope for Congo smelters were the key choke point in the global supply chain for minerals. Their hope was that as more smelters became audited in a stringent manner, there would be fewer and fewer places that smugglers could sell conflict minerals, eventually forcing them to give up. The plan was through incentives a more transparant, clean minerals trade can emerge.
“This is a major milestone in the global effort to support an end to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For over five years, over 120 companies have worked together to identify and validate, via a rigorous audit, conflict-free smelters and refiners of tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold,” said Michael Rohwer, Program Director of the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative.
Currently, there are 24 Tantalum smelters, 9 Tin smelters, 1 Tungsten smelter, and 32 Complaint Gold smelters; a total of 66 smelters. According to Sasha Lezhnev, Enough Project Senior Congo Policy Analyst, “having conflict-free smelters now available for all four conflict minerals is a tremendous achievement that we've all been waiting for years. It means that electronics, aerospace and other companies can make informed choices in their supplier decisions based on conflict-free sources, and it is critical that more and more companies begin doing so.”
The Enough Project and other members of the advocacy community and tech industry, from Global Witness to Motorola Solutions to HP to the Responsible Sourcing Network, have been working since 2008 to advance the efforts of initiatives such as CFSI. Earlier this month, tech giant Intel announced that its entire 2014 line of microprocessors would be free from conflict minerals, making them the first in the rare mineral-heavy industry to completely phase out their use in one of their products
You can read more about conflict minerals in our mobile phones and broadband product report