Tantalum is a key ingredient in many electronic items, from mobile phones and laptops through to airplanes. It is also one of many minerals and precious stones that, through its mining and trading, can be linked to instability and human rights abuses in some parts of the world.
Industry experts now estimate that around 9 percent of the world’s tantalum resources are found in the central African region. The United Nations, Global Witness and other independent observers have long-time documented tantalum’s links to abuses and fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which lies at the heart of this region. But not all of eastern Congo’s tantalum supply chains are linked to conflict. And tantalum is produced in other high-risk areas around the world too, including countries in South America, like Colombia and Brazil. Companies buying from these – or any - supply chains should undertake the same supply chain due diligence checks as they would from Congo.
This paper looks at how responsible tantalum supply chains are, and is the first in a series that looks at different mineral supply chains and whether they have become responsible, five years on from the OECD publishing its now internationally recognised supply chain Due Diligence Guidance.
This paper was written for and first published at the T.I.C. (tantalum-niobium international study centre) 2016 global conference.
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Sophia PicklesCampaign Leader and Supply Chain Investigator