Congo province poised to start certified 'conflict-free' tin exports

Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:01am EDT
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* Dodd Frank law obliges firms to ensure no conflict minerals

* ITRI tin industry body has started certification scheme in Congo

* First certified minerals exports due from North Kivu province

* Campaigners say scheme will require constant verification

By Peter Jones

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, April 19 (Reuters) - D emocratic Republic of Congo's tin producing North Kivu province may begin exports of certified 'conflict-free' minerals as soon as next week after the roll-out of a new barcode tagging scheme, the head of the regional division of mines said.

North Kivu is at the heart of Congo's production of tin and coltan - used in electronic devices such as mobile phones and video game consoles. Various armed groups have funded their operations for years by smuggling ore and taxing artisal miners.

In an effort to halt the violence, the United States included a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank act obliging U.S.-listed companies to ensure their supply chain was free from Congolese conflict minerals, specifically gold, coltan, tin and tungsten - a hard metal used in filaments, tools and weaponry.

Congo imposed a six-month ban on mining in North Kivu in late 2010 and then, in early 2012, forbade mineral exports unless they could be proven to come from conflict-free zones. Congo's tin output slumped from 7,800 tonnes in 2009 to 2,900 two years later, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.   Continued...