Conflict Minerals from Rape Capital of World Found in New Financial Law
The Devil is in the Details
The recent financial regulation bill signed into law has been described as “the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. financial-market regulations since the Great Depression.”
Whether or not you are for or against this legislation, you might be surprised as to what was found under Miscellaneous Provisions of this massive 2,300-page bill.
The Washington Post reported the bill will require thousands of U.S. companies to disclose what steps they are taking to ensure that their products — including laptops, cell phones, and medical devices — do not contain "conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Whenever I hear “conflict minerals,” my mind immediately jumps to diamonds — specifically, the movie Blood Diamond.
The persons responsible for this brutality and abuse are financing themselves through the extraction of these minerals.
A mix of activists, including Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan), helped draw attention to “conflict mineral” legislation, and with the support of Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), was able to tie the issue to the financial reform bill.
According to The Post, the new law requires American companies to submit an annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing whether their products contain these materials from the Congo or adjacent countries.
If so, they have to describe what measures they are taking to trace the minerals' origin.
But oh, what a tangled web we weave...
Tracing the origins of products can be exceedingly difficult. Such minerals may, for example, be smuggled from Congo through Rwanda, mixed with ore from other countries in a smelter in Kazakhstan, and then sold to a company in Southeast Asia that supplies a parts manufacturer in China.
While the law does not impose any penalty on companies who report taking no action, the disclosures must be made publicly on firms' websites.
"The consequence is a market-driven one. Consumers can make their choices. Do they want their electronic products to be funding gang rape in central Africa? I don't think most Americans would want that," said Rory Anderson of the World Vision humanitarian group, which has been pushing for the legislation.