What Are Conflict Minerals?

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.

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0:00 Introduction

Pop culture and recent events have given everyone around the world a basic understanding of what blood diamonds are, but how about conflict minerals?


0:11 What are Conflict Minerals?

Simply put, these are minerals that are used every day in a wide variety of products. The operations, mining, processing, and shipping of these minerals funnel money into oppressive regimes all over the world that are engaged in military conflict, slavery, genocide, and other human rights abuses. The main minerals that can most often be traced to these regimes can be called the 3TG: tin, tantalum, tungsten. Together with gold, these minerals are mined largely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country where military conflicts and civil war has claimed the lives of millions.


0:53 Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act

In 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act into law, which includes an article spelling out that American companies must report where the minerals used in their products come from. This has dramatically reduced the revenue being funneled into armed militias in conflict areas. If you want to learn more about how you can avoid materials and practices that fund oppressive regimes worldwide, Source Intelligence can help. Thank you for watching.

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. Click here to learn more. 

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