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Apple and Intel embargo on blood minerals takes effect

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.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Well intentioned but...

    Although this is well intentioned, the traders will simply find buyers elsewhere and, through intermediaries, push up the cost of these commodities. The only way to confront these "blood" issues is to eliminate the need for the items they produce and that simply isn't going to happen. The "fair trade" campaigns for coffee and other commodities have only a "drop in the ocean" impact on a global scale. In the short term, these actions only hurt the very people they're supposed to help. Do you think the Congolese mining companies are going to pay their workers(?) more if they're selling less product? Exactly the opposite will happen. That's not progress, unfortunately.

  1. malax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006



    So the US government is now requiring companies to stop importing minerals from Africa that haven't been certified as not contributing to war in Africa. Isn't the US contributing to war in Africa by actively supporting the Libyan rebels? Since Apple's profits help fun the US Government, shouldn't we be boycotting iPads (unless they are certified as "blood-free" of course)?

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