Intel and Apple Vow to Not Use Conflict Minerals

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.”

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Burodsx
    So I'm assuming China will buy the materials then turn around and sell it to the US for several times the cost.
  • memadmax
    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....
  • Oil, anyone?
  • Bristecom
    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.
  • Why were they using conflict minerals in the first place!
  • @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!"


    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!

  • Wish I Was Wealthy
    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...
  • Wish I Was Wealthy
    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...
  • ubercake
    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!
  • jgutz2006
    This is the politically correct way to start a trade embargo on Africa without the gov't officially being involved! nice work!