By Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, and Sasha Lezhnev | Jun 10, 2014
Just four years after enactment of historic Dodd-Frank “conflict minerals” legislation, a new investigative report by the Enough Project identifies early signs of success, with many lucrative mines in eastern Congo no longer controlled by violent armed groups responsible for mass atrocities, rape, and grave violations of human rights.
Market changes spurred by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law on conflict minerals have helped significantly reduce the involvement of armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (“Congo”) in the mines of three out of the four conflict minerals. The law, in addition to conflict minerals audit programs from the electronics industry and related reforms begun by African governments in the region but not yet fully implemented, has made it much less economically viable for armed groups and Congo’s army to mine tin, tantalum, and tungsten, known as the 3Ts. Minerals were previously major sources of revenue for armed groups, generating an estimated $185 million per year for armed groups and the army. However, artisanally mined gold continues to fund armed commanders. Further reforms are needed to address conflict gold and close loopholes on the other minerals.