Conflict minerals never fully went away, of course, but concerns rose when Michael Piwowar, the acting SEC chairman, said the agency’s rule that requires companies to disclose if minerals come from war-torn parts of Africa, is misguided and onerous for mining companies.
Markets may trump U.S. regulations, however. Companies say they have their own reasons to maintain, or even strengthen, their supply chain oversight, including European regulations, consumer demands, and investor pressure.
There’s room for improvement: The illicit mining of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and cobalt, key in the production of smart phones and other high tech devices, has been reduced to a minimum, according to the Enough Project.
But in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, companies and warlords continue to profit from illegal gold-mining, says a new report from Global Witness.