Intel Declares Itself Conflict Free! Coltan Congo Killers Sacked
OR rather Intel declares that its processors are now made without the use of conflict minerals. These so called “conflict minerals” are the stuff mined by the rapists and murderers out in Eastern Congo. With such names as “coltan” and “wolframite” they’re the sources of some of the metals (tantalum for example) that go into making all of our electronics.
And obviously it’s a good idea that people aren’t being enslaved to produce these minerals for us:
Did you know violent militias and rebel groups control many mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries, reaping millions of dollars from the sale of minerals extracted by exploited workers to fund conflict and human rights violations? With a firm conviction that a corporation can make a positive difference in the lives of global citizens by changing the way it does business, Intel is leading efforts to help address this problem by striving to eliminate these so-called “conflict minerals” from our supply chain. And today we are proud to offer the world’s first conflict-free1 microprocessors as one major step on this continuing journey.
What’s really amusing about this though is the method they’ve used to ensure this. There are two major programs going on. One is a cheap, simple and industry led one that takes account of the realities of the metals business. The minerals have to go to processors to be made into metals. So, check the minerals at the roughly 50 plants around the world that can process them and we’re done.
There’s also the new law, part of “Dodd Frank” which insists that every listed US company must ask each and every one of its suppliers whether they use conflict minerals. And of course each supplier must then ask all of their suppliers and so on right out through the world economy. Even the US Government admits that this will cost $4 billion: more than 100 times what the industry solution costs to solve the same problem.
Intel has used the industry solution, not the new law. But have no doubt that this will be taken to be a success of the law, not the industry solution.