updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri April 1, 2011
Conflict-Free Smelter program kicks off in Congo
The rules Apple and Intel came up with to stop the profits from the sales of minerals used in electronics from funding war have gone into effect on Friday, BusinessWeek reported. Exporters said miners in Central Africa will now focus on finding new buyers in Asia. China is the most likely market, as its demand for copper is expected to grow an average of seven percent per year between 2010 and 2014. China has recently moved its investments in mine from Australia and Canada to Africa.
"We're committed to continue with all these programs. But at the same time we're traveling soon to Asia to find alternatives," said John Kanyoni, the president of the mineral exporters association of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kanyoni said smelters are not buying from exporters in Goma in Congo, since miners have not yet complied with the new rules laid out in the Conflict-Free Smelter program. It covers tin ore, tungsten, gold and coltan from Congo and neighboring countries and requires mineral processors prove buyers don't contribute to the conflict in the eastern Congo.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission will release similar regulations later in April. It's signed as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by President Barack Obama in July. Draft SEC regulations require that US companies audit mineral supplies in 2012 to identify purchases and ensure they don't contribute to the conflict.
African traders want more time to implement the programs, Kanyoni said.