Conflict Minerals

Victoria Schoenlaub

7 min Read Time | August 10th 2021

Key takeaways

1

The four most commonly mined conflict minerals are cassiterite (for tin), wolframite (for tungsten), coltan (for tantalum), and gold ore.

2

In your analysis, start by describing the minerals: what, how much and who, following the IMP model.

3

Does the company follow the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) standards?

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What are they?

Conflict resources are natural resources extracted in a conflict zone, which can directly or indirectly perpetuate the fighting.

The four most commonly mined conflict minerals are cassiterite (for tin), wolframite (for tungsten), coltan (for tantalum), and gold ore. They are known as the 3TG. These minerals are essential in the manufacture of a variety of products, including consumer electronics such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The extraction and sale of blood diamonds, also known as "conflict diamonds", is a better-known phenomenon which occurs under similar conditions. Even petroleum can be a conflict resource.

The flagship program of the RMI, the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP), takes a unique approach to help companies make informed choices about responsibly sourcing such minerals in their supply chains.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_resource
https://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org/responsible-minerals-assurance-process/

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Impact assessment

In your analysis, start by describing the minerals: what, how much and who, following the IMP framework.

If the company is producing the mineral: What is their market share in the industry? How much do they produce per year (in tonnes)? What per cent is claimed to be certified or verified?

If the company is sourcing the material from a supplier: How many suppliers do they have? How large are those companies? How much do they purchase/consume per year (in tonnes)? Knowing specifically for each supplier is a plus. What per cent is claimed to be certified or verified?

Does the company follow the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) standards?

Try to mention the consequences of sourcing these minerals: either on the local environment, local communities or perpetuating conflicts. You can use studies as proxies. Learn more in the article Step 5: Assess scale and value.

In your analysis, help readers rate the impact by describing the scale of the impact by taking into account:

1/ The breadth of the impact

  • Is the impact local, national, or global?

2/ The depth of the impact

  • Is the life of people concerned deeply affected, or does the issue just marginally impact them?

  • Are the changes brought by the issue profoundly changing society or the planet?

3/ The persistence of the impact

  • How long would the impact described last for? Months? Years? Decades?

  • How reversible is the impact described in the impact analysis? Can it be easily stopped/extended?

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