The production line of a manufacturing company typically has many steps, from the source of the raw materials through the delivery of the final product. Sourcing of raw materials has received a lot of attention in recent years, as regulations have been set up in order to avoid the use of “conflict minerals.” Conflict minerals have this name due to the situation around their sourcing—these minerals are heavily produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding areas, where there is heavy war and fighting; the production of these minerals fuels those who are fighting.
Defining Conflict Minerals
There is a good chance you have heard of conflict or blood diamonds. Thanks to the engagement/wedding ring industry and the big 2006 Hollywood film, Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, most of the world knows to avoid any diamonds not certified to be “Conflict-Free”. While conflict diamonds have received most of the press, a few less glamorous elements and minerals fund the most death and destruction. The major conflict minerals are:
- Tin (Cassiterite)
- Tantalum (Columbite-Tantalite)
- Tungsten (Wolframite)
These conflict minerals (often called the “3TG”) are the basis for many modern products and technologies. Manufacturing everything from cell phones to medical devices to the pipes running through your walls, you need a constant supply of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold.
Stopping Conflict Minerals
As you can imagine, when the world discovered the depths of this problem, they took action. The U.S. government now requires that all companies know and report the origins of their minerals. The law itself, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, lays out what it takes to be able to call your minerals “DRC conflict free”. On the international front, the UN is also taking steps to not only stop the conflict mineral trade, but also the conflicts themselves.
At Caylor, we only sell industrial supplies from companies who can guarantee us that their products are free of conflict minerals. We understand the importance of being conflict free and we strive to be a valuable member of this type of production line.