Have you heard about conflict minerals? Recently, the issue of conflict minerals has become a hot topic across all American industry and is something that we need to address for all of our business moving forward. This past January, the U.S. government put into law the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, part of which focuses on the use of conflict materials and, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is an act that promotes “the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘’too big to fail’’, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” In other terms, what does this mean for manufacturers like you?
The act specifically outlines the materials cassiterate, columbite-tantalite (coltan), gold, wolframite, tin, tantalum, and tungsten, as seen in this article. The law prohibits companies from acquiring these materials from a specific set of countries mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because of the various human rights and armed conflicts that are ongoing in these areas. As these minerals are used in a variety of manufacturing processes and devices, the use of conflict-free materials touches all areas of the industry. Companies and manufacturers, then, must comply and certify they are receiving materials from other areas.
For a company like us, this is sometimes difficult to confirm, for we often receive chemicals and metals from other companies, who then receive the materials from somewhere else. Letters of certifications then need to be confirmed on all levels of the supply chain. In order to provide our customers with the assurance that our products and chemicals in our plating tanks meet these standards, we need to receive confirmation from our suppliers that all minerals are conflict-free. As the manufacturing industry moves forward, it is necessary for all of us to steer clear of these “conflict minerals.”