Venkel Ltd., a producer of electronics components headquartered in Austin, Texas, has released an infographic that explores the sources of four conflict minerals, coined 3TG (tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold). This comes as the SEC finds itself embroiled in a clash over conflict mineral provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Conflict minerals describe earth metals that come from the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Though the DRC is a relatively small producer in terms of the world market, its mining operations are inextricably tied to the violence that grips the country, adding more than its share to global suffering.
It matters, to both electronics makers and consumers, because their gadgets could be financing the atrocities in the region, however indirectly. The issue has gained exposure in recent years, prompting some big tech companies like Intel and Apple to rethink their materials sourcing practices. U.S. lawmakers took a stand and passed provisions requiring electronics manufacturers to track the stuff in their supply lines as part of Dodd-Frank — effectively banning conflict minerals lest they invite a PR disaster.
The human toll
Venkel’s infographic dispenses some startling numbers, most notably how much of the revenue derived from mining fuels the conflict. Like, for instance, the fact that the conflict has claimed 5.4 million lives as of 1998, with 45,000 perishing each month.
The connection to conflict minerals is made more clear when you follow the money. Of the $130 million in revenue derived from tin, more than half, $80 million, funded the war in 2009.
View the full infographic below or visit Venkel for more insights.
Images courtesy of Venkel, Ltd.