Report: U.S. law works, Congo mines no longer controlled by warlords

Most Congolese mines are now considered "conflict-free."
By Ed Adamczyk  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- A report indicates Congolese warlords no longer control mining in the country, due to a 2010 U.S. law requiring determination of the origin of materials in products.

The non-governmental organization Enough Project, an anti-genocide group headquartered in Washington, D.C., said warlords in Democratic Republic of Congo have lost control of two-thirds of the country's mines in the past four years. One, Bosco Ntaganda, faces trial on genocide charges in international criminal court.

The mines generated annual profits of $185 million for the warlords and their militias, responsible for atrocities including murder and rape, the group said.

A U.S. law, part of the Dodds-Frank Financial Reform Act, demands companies must determine the origin of minerals used in their product -- including elements such as tin, tantalum and tungsten from Congolese mines, often used in computer and cellphone products. Firms such as Apple and Intel, aware of public relations issues, have generally complied with the law.

Enough Project said in its report 112 of 155 inspected Congolese mines have been declared "conflict-free."

"Our research found that electronics companies are expanding their responsible minerals sourcing from Congo, and Congolese miners are now able to earn 40% more from those mines. Mines formerly controlled by warlords such as Bosco Ntaganda are now part of peaceful supply chains, as 21 electronics brands and other companies now source from 16 conflict-free mines in Congo," said Sasha Lezhnev of Enough Project.

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