The law defines conflict minerals as those including gold; columbite-tantalite, used to produce tantalum; cassiterite, used to make tin; and wolframite, which used to produce tungsten. According to the IHS, the minerals are widely used in products ranging from "cellphones to hearing aids, to pacemakers and jet engines." IHS estimates that $93 million worth of tantalum was used in smartphones in 2012 alone.
The new law requires companies to disclose whether they use conflict minerals in their products and what efforts have been made to ensure that the use or purchase of the minerals have not caused and do not contribute to violence and killings. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is especially concerning as it is estimated to hold about $24 trillion worth of minerals, as well as adjacent countries.
The 11.3 percent of companies that have complied so far represent about 17.1 percent of active electronic components on the market, IHS said.