In this video, CNN’S Mary Snow explains why a provision on Congo “conflict minerals” is contained in the finance reform bill.
U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced the Congo Conflict Minerals Act of 2009 in April 2009.
“Metals derived from inhumanely mined minerals go into electronic products used by millions of Americans. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, many people – especially women and children – are victimized by armed groups who are trying to make a profit from mining ‘conflict minerals.’ The legislation introduced seeks to bring accountability and transparency to the supply chain of minerals used in the manufacturing of many electronic devices. I hope the legislation will help save lives.” said Sam Brownback
Under this legislation, U.S.-registered companies selling products using columbite-tantalite, cassiterite, or wolframite, or derivatives of these minerals, are required to annually disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission the country of origin of those minerals. If the country is DR Congo or neighboring countries, the company will need to disclose the mine of origin.
Minerals from Rwanda require certification that they are “DRC conflict free,” according to the bill. The regulation also affects eight other countries neighbouring Congo including Angola, Tanzania and Uganda.
Understandably, conflict mineral traders are not happy: “We are totally shocked by the passing of this bill which is in spirit an embargo on materials from DRC and adjoining countries,” said John Kanyoni, head of the Association of Mineral Exporters in Congo’s eastern North Kivu province.
Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Howard Berman (D-CA), and Barney Frank (D-MA), along with many other upstanding members of Congress, deserve special praise for leading this battle over the past two years.