The Fine Metals in your Electronics. Conflict Minerals – I’m also conflicted.

Conflict Minerals is defined as: “Minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses…” (SourceIntelligence). These include: Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten (3Ts) and Gold. They are found within cars, some sports equipment, electronics and jewelry.The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a mineral-rich country in Central Africa. The issue behind it is simply violence. A war – Known as the “Bloodiest Conflict since WWII”. We, in North America, are so far removed from what is going on behind the scenes of the smallest things that make ie) our phone.

This area is not my strongest field and I admit I don’t know much about it. I figure now is the perfect opportunity to learn about it together. You hear the term so often and it has been a topic being featured more in the media. Those who have more info on it, feel free to share in the comments section below.

If you got 38 minutes to spare, this is my favourite video that helps depict the situation with Conflict Minerals and life in the Congo. Almost 1.5 million views for this video – it must mean something about it.

There is currently one protection act in place called the “Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act” Section 1502: Conflict Minerals. Launched in 2012 and helps in describing and reporting for issuers whose products contain the minerals mentioned above. I haven’t found this to be embedded into all auditing firms as it is a fairly difficult thing to trace. For sure, it has not been embedded into the majority of companies. I blame them, yet I also don’t. They should know where their products are being made/sourced. I don’t blame them that it is difficult to trace at times. There’s a lot of underground “dirty” work that makes it almost impossible to follow but that’s where the growing concern is. Why is it that hard to find where a certain metal comes from!? I found PWC to be informative in providing updates in this world.

The Ponder On: The life and reality of two worlds. Small actions, even if we feel desensitized or far removed from it, can make a grand statement. Who is to say we need to constantly upgrade our phone, our TVs or our computers? There is never a need but we do it. We are all (people, corporations, miners, money makers, etc…) at fault.

Photo Source: PBS

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4 thoughts on “The Fine Metals in your Electronics. Conflict Minerals – I’m also conflicted.

  1. … and not to leave out “blood diamonds”.
    Where I live in South Afica there is a company that collects “electronic-waste” and recycles the bits and pieces in some way.
    As you say, every small action counts.

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    • Are they a company/facility? Is there a lot of engagement from the community for e-waste? Its still growing in Canada…its not fully accessible for everyone still but there are opportunities to recycle at least.

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  2. I had seen this documentary years ago about recycling services for old computers of which westerners tend to stock up and dispose at a quick rate. The documentary showed how many seemingly legit places in Canada collect the equipment for recycling, ship it overseas where it ends up being handled in very unsafe ways where toxic elements like lead are being extracted by children. My take away, I try to hold onto to my gadgets as long as I possibly can. I don’t need the latest and greatest…our electronics don’t need to be as disposable as they currently are.

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    • I’m definitely like that too. Also, I tend to hold on to really old electronics I don’t use anymore and hope to find a proper recycling facility or even those environment days to take it in. Otherwise, I would feel 100% guilty to throw it in the trash or normal recycling.

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