A gold nugget nestled and almost hidden in grey stones in a conflict minerals mine.

What Are Conflict Minerals?

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Conflict Minerals Definition

The term “conflict minerals” is defined as columbite-tantalite, also known as coltan (from which tantalum is derived); cassiterite (tin); gold; wolframite (tungsten); or their derivatives; or any other mineral or its derivatives determined by the Secretary of State to be financing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country.
Regulation Background
In 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act into law. Section 1502 of that act addresses the international trade and use of Conflict Minerals. But what are these Minerals and how do they affect our everyday lives? Like the similar issue of Conflict Diamonds or Blood Diamonds, the term Conflict Minerals refers to raw materials that come from a particular part of the world where conflict is occurring and affects the mining and trading of those materials. Learn more about conflict minerals, here.

Present Day

The conflict minerals regulation is a global standard for ethical sourcing. The conflict minerals reporting template (CMRT) is a free, standardized reporting template developed by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and is considered the industry standard reporting template for conflict minerals compliance. The CMRT is designed to facilitate the transfer of information through the supply chain regarding mineral country of origin and smelters and refiners being utilized. The template also facilitates the identification of new smelters and refiners to potentially undergo an audit via the RMI’s Responsible Minerals Assurance Process. In addition, the European Union has implemented a conflict minerals law.
Future Of Conflict Minerals
Other minerals are coming to the forefront as more and more human rights issues are uncovered. In the case of mica and cobalt, the lack of regulation is causing many companies to source these goods from mines that use child labor, unsafe conditions, and human trafficking. Many organizations are rallying to have these minerals added to the conflict minerals legislation.
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