If you have a business whose work involves the use of minerals, then where they have come from is something that you should know. Minerals that have been sourced in countries or regions where there is conflict are known as ‘conflict minerals’, and here we look at what this means and how companies can help to ensure that they are not tacitly supporting groups in these areas by following official guidance and sourcing minerals in a responsible way.
What Do We Mean By ‘conflict Minerals’?
Conflict minerals have been mined in areas where there are wars and abuses of human rights. This is particularly an issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is a huge amount and variety of minerals. These are being mined by various non-state and rogue groups as well as independent artisan miners. The general definition of conflict minerals includes tin, tantalum and tungsten as well as gold and products that have been derived from any of these, including those used in Sussex precision engineering. The main risk with using minerals from the DRC is that the supply chain has probably been infiltrated by rogue groups, and so the aim of the international community is to bring the DRC’s mineral production under state control to restrict financial support to rogue groups.
How Is the Use of Conflict Minerals Being Curbed?
There is legislation in the US to cover the use of conflict minerals and proposed legislation from the EU, while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published detailed guidance relating to conflict minerals.
The aim of the UK government and others is to ensure that any minerals which originate from the DRC can only be used or traded by companies such as http://www.sussexprecision.co.uk with consideration for environmental, social and economic responsibility and that the OECD guidelines are understood and complied with. There have been some recent initiatives to ensure minerals from the DRC don’t enter the supply chain, including a requirement for companies to show proof of origin for minerals and conduct due diligence and certification.
Here we have briefly tried to analyse what is meant by conflict minerals and how companies can help the campaign to stop such minerals being used. More detailed guidance is available from the UK government at www.gov.uk.