Topic: 2023-Impact of Conflict Minerals
Delegate Name: Jackson Harlan
Delegate: Jackson Harlan
School: Williamston High School
Topic: Impact of conflict minerals
The definition of Conflict Minerals does not even begin to describe the terrible troubles they bring to the world. They are described as minerals being mined with the benefit of armed groups in politically unstable countries. These minerals are usually defined as tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold. They fund some of the most despicable human rights violations such as slave labor, and human trafficking. Today conflict minerals are most commonly found in northern Africa, but can also be found in other places, such as northern South Africa, parts of Asia and Europe, and Mexico. Specifically in Europe, Ukraine has minerals that may have a weigh in on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In other parts of the world such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), two countries struggling with a severe conflict mineral problem, these minerals are used to fund conflict in the area. There are also the environmental aspects of mining conflict minerals, which include methods that often cause pollution, and erosion.
The UN (United Nations) and other global organizations have passed and proposed large amounts of legislation surrounding conflict minerals. They tend to focus on trying to find a place in the supply chain where conflict minerals can be cut-off without creating a global economic crisis. Specifically the EU (European Union) has proposed many ideas such as one that came into effect in 2021 where importers must prove their imports of the specified minerals must pass the EU’s resourcing standards. Despite coming into effect four years after its passing, as to give importers time to adjust, no notable change has been made in the supply change, and conflict minerals continue to be just as big of a problem as ever. The world relies on these conflict minerals, which are used to produce popular smart devices. In 2002 the security council met to discuss the rising issues of conflict minerals at the time and came to the conclusion they could not put a full embargo on these minerals. The due diligence program, created by the UN, is the most successful. It has put arms embargoes on the DRC and has implicated travel bans in the areas of conflict. Denmark has also worked to create the EUs plan and is in full support of its implementation.
Denmark has addressed the chair of the security council surrounding conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo reporting its involvement in the EU and the plans they are making for the future. Denmark is aware of the lack of knowledge surrounding conflict minerals, to solve the problem in the supply chain and work to end the conflicts, people must first be aware of the problem. In fact 80% of businesses were not able to determine where their raw minerals were from. The first step in solving this crisis is education, this begins in the downstream half of production with the market makers. Requiring manufactures of minerals state where their minerals are sourced from in a clear and present way. Secondly the UN needs to take control of these mines, the armed groups will continue to profit off of the minerals being mined and that money will be used to fuel the conflict if there is no intervention. In doing so the mines can still produce and the supply chain can continue almost as normal, while taking away the funding from these armed groups. This needs to be simultaneous with attempting to stabilize the infrastructure of the region’s government or else the conflict will continue. This is especially true in places such as DRC, where much of the economic flow is created by these minerals. Denmark recognizes that these changes may result in economic hardship and an economic support system must be put in place. Not just for the country’s government, but also for the miners themselves. It is clear many steps need to be taken to insure the solidity of the regulations already in place while also taking additional steps to support individuals countries’ needs.
“80% of Companies Don’t Know If Their Products Contain Conflict Minerals.” Harvard Business Review, 17 Feb. 2017, hbr.org/2017/01/80-of-companies-dont-know-if-their-products-contain-conflict-minerals.
“Conflict Minerals Regulation.” Trade, policy.trade.ec.europa.eu/development-and-sustainability/conflict-minerals-regulation_en#:~:text=In%20politically%20unstable%20areas%2C%20armed,mobile%20phones%2C%20cars%20and%20jewellery. Accessed 15 Nov. 2023.
OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals …, www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/mining.htm. Accessed 15 Nov. 2023.
“What Are Conflict Minerals?” Responsible Minerals Initiative, www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org/about/faq/general-questions/what-are-conflict-minerals/. Accessed 15 Nov. 2023.