Progress is being made in the effort to limit the use of conflict minerals:
Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation and more stringent tech industry sourcing policies have led to an estimated 65 percent decrease in profit over the past two years for armed groups in eastern Congo from their trade in the conflict minerals of tin, tantalum, and tungsten, according to a new Enough Project investigative report. However, the renewed violence by the Rwanda-backed M23 rebellion threatens to greatly increase conflict minerals smuggling.
The report, based on field interviews with 143 people in Congo and Rwanda, documents that the recent escalation of violence in eastern Congo is being driven mainly to protect economic interests, but it masks the noteworthy progress that companies and governments have made over the past 18 months to significantly diminish the ability of armed groups to generate income from conflict minerals. The U.S. Dodd-Frank Act has fostered long-term mining reforms by electronics companies and the Congolese government, and more than 100 Congolese miners interviewed by the Enough Project supported the law as a way to end slave-like conditions in the mining sector.
According to the report, gaps in follow-up to the Dodd-Frank law must be addressed by jewelry companies and the Obama administration, as these gaps allow armed groups in Congo to continue to trade gold and smuggle other conflict minerals into neighboring countries. During the time period of 2010 to 2011, Rwanda’s mineral exports rose 62 percent compared with only a 22 percent rise in domestic mining production and a decline in Congo’s mineral exports of 75 percent.