Apple, Intel Pledge to Use “Conflict-Free” Minerals
Electronics companies in the United States will be required by law next year to inform the public when they are using "conflict minerals" mined from war-stricken Central Africa, which have been used in the manufacture of some of the most popular gadgets and products on the market. To beat the protests and bad press, Apple and Intel are joining forces with the Conflict-Free Smelter program to steer clear of mineral-processing plants with "conflict" ties.
Many common tech products are made in some degree from tantalum, tungsten and tin, three rare minerals that are being mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area long linked to war and poverty. In response, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act last summer, requiring electronics companies to make it known where these "conflict minerals," which essentially help fund war, come from.
Although the law does not restrict trade, companies that don't use the minerals from the region will be able to label their products "conflict-free."
Companies participating in the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition's Conflict-Free Smelter program vow to take their business elsewhere unless mineral processing plants can prove they are not contributing financially to the ongoing war.
Miners in the Congo area are now trying to reach out to Asian buyers, according to a Bloomberg report.