Tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold, or the 3T’s and gold, are identified under the U.S. Conflict Minerals Law as conflict minerals. Revenue from the illegal trade of these minerals can be used to help fund illegal armed groups, most notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Tantalum is used in most electronic products. Approximately 15-18 percent of the world’s supply of tantalum comes from the DRC. Tens of thousands of people in the DRC depend on artisanal mining, many operating in regions where conflict is not present. Ceasing operations in the region threatens their livelihood.
The Solutions for Hope project created an initial flow of tantalum that will help enable miners to work and conflict-free systems to be developed in the DRC.
Once the mines began extracting the minerals, and prior to the initiation of the Solutions for Hope project, an independent audit of the operations was conducted to evaluate conformance of the operation to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance.
Prior to initiating the project several due diligence steps were taken. A review of the mine by the iTSCi process and the non-governmental organization Pact was conducted to determine the conflict-free status of the mine. After this was confirmed, the mine began the traceability process of bagging and tagging.
After minerals are extracted, they are transported to a smelter for further processing prior to use in products.
Once the minerals leave the mine, they are bagged and tagged to ensure they are identified as conflict-free tantalum. Then, they are taken to the point of export and transported to the smelter.
Through the Conflict-Free Smelter Program, a smelter is verified as not sourcing conflict material and thus can ensure the materials shipped to the supplier are conflict free.
The smelter has the ability to “semi-batch” treat materials so that these materials can be tracked separately through the smelting process.
The tantalum is ready for the component manufacturer after it is smelted. It is shipped to Motorola Solutions’ supplier that manufactures capacitors for the company’s products.
Once the capacitors are created, they are shipped to Motorola Solutions and placed into products.
As part of the due diligence process, all points in the process have been visited. This includes the mines, trade route, point of export from the DRC, the smelter and the component supplier.
Expanding the Sfh program
Building on the success of our initial Solutions for Hope (SfH) tantalum project, SfH is expanding the scale, scope, and geographical reach of its closed-pipe conflict free system. The non-governmental organization RESOLVE, and its partners (including Motorola Solutions and additional companies, civil society, and government representatives) are establishing SfH as a global platform to replicate and scale-up the supply of conflict free minerals.
free tin supply started
At Kalimbi, in South Kivu province, the Conflict Free Tin Initiative (CFTI) established that the same closed-pipe system used for tantalum could successfully be applied to tin production. The mine started conflict-free production in October 2012 and has produced more than 273 tons of tin ore, all of which was tagged and bagged to protect it from tampering. This material has been exported raising approximately $1.7 million USD for the local economy and nothing for armed groups. The enterprise is viewed as a total success by the locals and has given the people renewed hope.
CFTI has now expanded its mining operation to Maniema, a province bordering South Kivu. This area is less prone to conflict and the government is reinvesting tax income in the mining communities. Brand partners of CFTI are already incorporating CFTI tin in their products to consumers.