This entry was posted on behalf of Carolyn Duran, “Conflict Free Minerals” program manager at Intel.
In April of this year, I became the program manager for the “Conflict Free Minerals” program here at Intel. I “grew up” at Intel in the Fab development world, so moving into this role has been eye-opening One of the things I have been working on related to conflict minerals, is our effort to support in-region sourcing. Intel has been working on conflict minerals for a while (LONG before I became a part of the program), and it has truly been a complex, challenging problem – figuring out where the conflict minerals are in our supply chain, engaging with smelters, figuring out how to best ensure the minerals we use in our products are obtained from conflict free sources, etc. It’s incredibly challenging and rewarding at the same time. One of the challenges that we face is trying to find a way to source from the region so that we can continue to support local artisanal mining – yet ensure that sourcing truly does not fund conflict – either directly or indirectly.
In our pursuit of in-region conflict free minerals, we’ve met with the US State department, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) officials, non-governmental organizations, and countless others. Recently, we agreed to participate in a pilot with AVX to source, “conflict free” tantalum from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This project, call, “Solutions for Hope” is intended to create a process that can deliver conflict-free tantalum that meets OECD guidelines. We are hopeful not only that this will work, but that we will be able to expand this to other metals and supply lines. The pilot has already started and will run through the end of the year, at which point the results will be evaluated by the participants. We hope to share some of these findings early in 2012. This is just one small way in which we can help establish in-region sourcing. I hope to be able to share more with you on this pilot, as well as additional efforts designed to support artisanal mining in the region.