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Congo Mining Abuses Prompting SEC Regulations

Mining of materials for electronics in the Congo is notorious for human rights abuses. 
(Photo courtesy of New School Thoughts on Africa.)
Mining of materials for electronics in the Congo is notorious for human rights abuses.
(Photo courtesy of New School Thoughts on Africa.)

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Greg Stirling
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Congo Mining Abuses Prompting SEC Regulations
Greg Stirling   10/17/2011 4:01:33 PM
I'm not big on regulations, but we all know about the human rights abuses surrounding diamonds in South Africa.  We could expect the same with any precious or semi-precious rescource.  Probably best to regulate and keep an eye on this and deal with the black market that will follow...

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Congo Mining Abuses Prompting SEC Regulations
Jack Rupert, PE   10/18/2011 4:55:32 PM
Not a fan of more SEC reporting with a lot of useless additional paperwork.  If the government thinks it should be influencing the inner politics of other nations where it does not affect the US (and that's a big "if") it should be doing so on the international relations level and not forcing individual companies to try to implement its policies.  Now maybe there could be tariffs or reporting policies for the first level suppliers (i.e., the guys who actually buy the raw material and turn it into something), but trying to keep a paper trail for every level down the road sounds a bit much.

William K.
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mining abuses
William K.   10/18/2011 11:03:07 AM
HOW ABOUT AN alternative of tlling what non conflict country the materials mcome from?

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Diamonds - South Africa is not the problem
RadioGuy   10/18/2011 1:07:44 PM
With respect to diamonds, the "conflict diamonds" come not from South Africa but from Sierra Leone. As disgusting as you may find the South African mines, those are the good workplaces compared to what goes on in West Africa.

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Raw material regulation
Tim   10/18/2011 9:28:11 PM
For many years, woodworkers have looked to replenished farmed forests for rare woods like teak.  This has mostly been done to avoid overharvesting and extinction of teak as a species.  I would hope that other manufacturers would be willing to look at sources of raw materials to ensure that the purchase would not benefit to any warring parties.  A global economy is a big responsibility, and I hope we can handle it. 

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Re: Raw material regulation
ChuckBlakeman   10/22/2011 12:13:14 AM

Our Congo-based company works with Congolese tribes to help them export without a dime going to conflict groups. Dodd-Frank has been disastrous for them.

I challenge the supporters to take a poll of those they are supposedly trying to protect. The response would tell them that, while Dodd-Frank was well-meaning, it is an unmitigated disaster in practice. COCABI, COMIMPA and COMIDER represent 20,000 miners in the conflict area.  They all say they’ve never even been contacted. 

While all the NGOs and politicians are quoting each other’s support of this, we are quoting chiefs and tribes who are actually being affected by it, all of whom say it has been disastrous for them and their livelihood.  Doesn’t this say something very powerful to us?

Also, there are six regions from which Dodd-Frank minerals are mined, and only one of them has ever had anything to do with conflict. Dodd-Frank has put them all out of business before it is even enacted.  The World Bank says it has negatively affected 10 million Congolese.  If all Congo minerals came from criminals, then Dodd-Frank would make sense.  But the fact is that probably 1-3% of the affected minerals come from criminals, the rest are from honest, hard-working chiefs and their tribes, all of whom have lost their only source of income in the second poorest country on earth.

I was in Tanzania a few weeks ago to help a chief export his coltan using a visible, well-documented process that ensures not a dime goes to conflict. His people will go hungry because the smelters, citing Dodd-Frank, have vanished. The chief is devastated, as are the millions who find their meager livelihoods destroyed by this over-reaching act.

The issue with Dodd-Frank is that it is a nuclear option that demonizes minerals instead of criminals.  It’s no different than burning down every house in town to stop a burglar from stealing, who will simply steal from somewhere else.  Ludicrous.

Dodd-Frank has burned down the entire mining industry in the Congo in hopes that their scorched earth policy will catch a militia group in its path.  They are willing to take down every innocent man, woman, and child who live off mining. Such massive collateral damage is not acceptable under any circumstance.

Remove mining from the equation and the militia will exact its pound of flesh from the locals by other means. This should be handled by targeting militias, not mining. Dodd-Frank takes the route of universal collateral damage, which, before the bill is enacted, has already destroyed the livelihoods of the innocents who depend on it.

As Eric Kajemba, the leader of a civil-society group has said, “If the advocacy groups aren’t speaking for the people of eastern Congo, whom are they speaking for?”


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