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Intel and Apple Vow to Not Use Conflict Minerals

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 42 comments

Conflict-free computers.

Thanks to enough media attention, and a Hollywood movie, most people know about conflict diamonds and other precious stones.

According to a new bill signed by Obama, U.S. electronics companies will be required to trace and know the origins of the materials used to make their products. Minerals such as gold, tungsten, tantalum and tin are mined and sold to fund war in Central Africa.

This poses a new layer of diligence on the likes of computer and gadget manufacturers. Fast Company reports that Intel and Apple have recently joined Conflict-Free Smelter program ahead of the legislation, perhaps to avoid any unwanted attention and it's the right thing to do.

Now miners in the conflict regions need to find new buyers for their materials. With large American companies now backing off, selling efforts may go to Asia instead, reports Bloomberg.

“There is a de-facto embargo, it’s very clear,” said John Kanyoni, president of the mineral exporters association of North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We’re committed to continue with all these programs. But at the same time we’re traveling soon to Asia to find alternatives.”

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  • 9 Hide
    Burodsx , April 6, 2011 9:27 AM
    So I'm assuming China will buy the materials then turn around and sell it to the US for several times the cost.
  • 2 Hide
    memadmax , April 6, 2011 10:10 AM
    This is pointless.
    What, we aren't the *only* users of minerals.

    Now this stuff is just gonna go to china, east asian countries, and probably more....
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2011 10:24 AM
    Oil, anyone?
  • 2 Hide
    Bristecom , April 6, 2011 10:32 AM
    Today's top story - Obama has signed a bill making it more difficult for US companies to make products in an effort to discourage war in Africa. In other news, Obama has just entered the US into war in Libya without approval of congress.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2011 11:07 AM
    Why were they using conflict minerals in the first place!
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2011 11:12 AM
    @bristecom

    wow your cynicism is so new and thought provoking! i hope you feel clever. i hope you're sitting at home right now going, "heh. wait till they see my comment on tom's hardware!"

    EVERYONE'S GOING TO PASS OUT BY ITS CONTROVERSIAL SPECULATION!

    oh wait, fox news already said this drivel, and they're all retarded cave slugs. so i guess that makes you... moss?

    dude, i ain't vascular either. don't worry about it!


  • 2 Hide
    Wish I Was Wealthy , April 6, 2011 11:33 AM
    All this action will do is to raise the prices of all pc & tech hardware parts...Also these mining companies will probably offload their minerals to some other source for their cash flow...
  • 1 Hide
    Wish I Was Wealthy , April 6, 2011 11:42 AM
    Although Intel & Apple signing this conflict free agreement is most likely for the to be seen as doing good idea & to be left alone while the government searches for all other companies that take the wrong steps & make ripples on the water while searching for stepping stones to cross the pond to get to the easiest & fastest conflict source for all minerals...
  • 1 Hide
    ubercake , April 6, 2011 12:12 PM
    What a racket... If one of the few mining companies in control of the mines - in a nation that is not their own - don't have control over the minerals, they're said to be conflict minerals. A nation is not allowed to sell minerals from their own soil on their own behalf or they're considered conflict minerals.

    Who honestly thinks any of those mines are run without exploiting humans? It's OK to exploit humans in China, but whatever you do... don't do it in Africa.

    Once again... Hippocracy at work. Way to ensure the monopoly of these precious minerals!
  • 0 Hide
    jgutz2006 , April 6, 2011 1:25 PM
    This is the politically correct way to start a trade embargo on Africa without the gov't officially being involved! nice work!
  • 1 Hide
    rantoc , April 6, 2011 1:25 PM
    ubercakeWhat a racket... If one of the few mining companies in control of the mines - in a nation that is not their own - don't have control over the minerals, they're said to be conflict minerals. A nation is not allowed to sell minerals from their own soil on their own behalf or they're considered conflict minerals.Who honestly thinks any of those mines are run without exploiting humans? It's OK to exploit humans in China, but whatever you do... don't do it in Africa.Once again... Hippocracy at work. Way to ensure the monopoly of these precious minerals!


    Indeed, what would have been the odds that those companies would have been doing this if the president didn't send this bill to the congress. Most likely less than zero chance, its not helping profit and thats what its all about. _everything_ else is expendable including human beings that are being exploited to make the products in the sweatshops to increase the profit somewhat more rather than work under humane conditions.

    Smart move to "appear" to be nice thoo - when signing this a while before being forced to it anyway. It will help the sales a bit and generate some goodwill when people think THEY were the ones taking the initiative! Amazing that some people don't see through the smokescreen hiding the truth!
  • 1 Hide
    dogman_1234 , April 6, 2011 1:33 PM
    I smell politics!
  • -2 Hide
    fayzaan , April 6, 2011 1:43 PM
    Mah internets has gold!
  • 2 Hide
    rhino13 , April 6, 2011 1:50 PM
    Where does AMD stand on this?
  • 0 Hide
    Yoder54 , April 6, 2011 2:17 PM
    burodsxSo I'm assuming China will buy the materials then turn around and sell it to the US for several times the cost.


    If our politicians had any balls then they would implement a trade embargo against China requiring them to play fair and quit fixing the yen, use non-contaminated materials, etc. A little off topic, but if the politicians were truly concerned about US jobs then they would penalized the likes of Dell who ships most jobs overseas nowadays...he says the US labor force is not educated enough or motivated.
  • 1 Hide
    icemunk , April 6, 2011 2:19 PM
    burodsxSo I'm assuming China will buy the materials then turn around and sell it to the US for several times the cost.

    It seems like America is doing its best to make itself uncompetitive on the world stage... the fall of a great empire coninues...
  • 1 Hide
    f-14 , April 6, 2011 2:26 PM
    Quote:
    Now miners in the conflict regions need to find new buyers for their materials. With large American companies now backing off, selling efforts may go to Asia instead

    not impressed, this is just eliminating a middle man so material prices just got cheaper and kept off shore. there is little doubt in my mind intels malayasian factory and apples foxconn factories will still be using these materials now with it's price reduced and entirely manufactured outside of the usa.
    after all if apple really cared, there wouldn't be dead and poisoned foxconn workers in the first place.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2011 2:47 PM
    Because raw material cost makes up more then 60% of the final product cost......
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2011 2:49 PM
    @Yoder54

    yes china should stop fixing the Japanese Yen.......
  • 1 Hide
    kinggraves , April 6, 2011 3:37 PM
    Protip O'Reilly: Congress created the bill that Obama signed, he isn't just wizarding bills around. You might want to pull up some schoolhouse rock and learn how government works.

    What it boils down to is cheap materials require human sacrifice and slave labor. If you want those low, low Wal Mart prices, you'd better realize that people are dying to make those low quality goods. Morality is the enemy of wealth. We should also be grinding the poor and unfit into meat to end world hunger.

    I'm sure most Americans want their goods to be American made, but are you willing to pay the price hikes caused by less efficient business practices like "regular breaks" and "sick days"? Are you willing to lower American work standards enough that the employees are poisoned and suicidal like the countries we outsource to? You can't have your cake and eat it too.
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