What Your Company Needs to Know About Conflict Minerals


Aug 27 2013

What Your Company Needs to Know About Conflict Minerals

By: CMS Admin

Posted in: General


Conflict minerals are necessary elements for many manufactured goods. That’s why while working within the cable manufacturing and assembly industry, it is important for companies like Atronix, MRG, and ourselves to know how and where we get our raw materials. Currently, our industry is working on coming to grips with how to track conflict minerals.

 What are conflict minerals?

Conflict minerals are raw materials that come from a particular part of the world where armed conflict directly affects the mining and trading of these materials.  The miners are often subjected to intimidation tactics, violence, and violations of their human rights. Currently, there are only four conflict minerals, which are: columbite-tantalite (tantalum), cassiterite (tin), wolframite (tungsten), and gold. These raw materials are used in a variety of products sold around the world including: cell phones, portable music players, computers, electronic circuits, aircraft and surgical products, metal wires, and jewelry. As a manufacturer, we come across these raw materials daily. Tornik produces a wide range of cable assembliesharness assemblies and electromechanical assemblies, and turnkey box builds, as well as its custom product, Permafuse.

 Where do conflict minerals come from?

For the most part, conflict minerals are mined in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Approximately 80% of all conflict minerals are derived from this country. However, conflict minerals affect multiple countries including: The Congo, Tanzania, South Sudan, Zambia, Angola, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and the Central Africa Republic.  Minerals mined from eastern Congo are often smuggled or shipped out of Congo through neighboring countries in order to hide their origin. According to the SEC, 15% to 20% of the world’s supply of these ores originate within these countries.

 What is the conflict surrounding conflict minerals?

For more than a century eastern Congo has been directly affected by regional conflict over the vast natural resources within its borders. In fact, the greed over conflict mineral trading control has left a long, tortured trail throughout Congo’s history. Why? Conflict minerals have proven to be very valuable due to the high demand for each of them all over the globe.  The illicit trading of these raw materials provides rebel groups with tens of millions of dollars each year. This money enables these militias to purchase large numbers of weapons to continue their campaigns of brutality and violence against innocent civilians. For nearly 15 years fighting has continued so armed groups, military units, or militias can fund their violence, war, and wealth. Still today these minerals are funding multiple armed groups who use violence to remain in control over mines and trade routes.

Most of the miners who work within these internment camp like conditions have either been threatened, physically forced to do so, or are child, slave laborers. Not only are these workers physically abused but the conditions within the mines themselves are deplorable. They are forced to use crude tools for little to no money and do not receive breaks. For many Congolese this life is all they will ever know, and unfortunately, the death toll is broaching 5.4 million and growing.

 What actions are being taken to change it?

In 2010, President Barrack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. Section 1502 of this bill addresses the international trade and use of conflict minerals stating that all companies must openly publish or identify where the minerals used in their products came from.  The US Conflict Mineral Law contains two stipulations that require traceability of third party supply chains, and constant reporting of audit information. Each company will need to submit an annual conflict mineral report to The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosing any and all mineral purchases of the company.

You can view Tornik’s Conflict Mineral Policy here.


“Conflict Minerals.” Global Witness. Web. Aug 8 2013.


“Conflict Minerals.” Ernest & Young.  2012. Web. Aug 8 2013.


“Conflict Mineral, Rebels, and Child Soliders.” VICE. May 22, 2012 Web. Aug 8 2013.