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Minerals originating from conflict regions can end up in electronics and many other products such as jewelry, airplanes, and automobiles. Greater awareness of the atrocities in these regions on the part of the public and end-use industries has prompted leading companies in the electronics sector to investigate their supply chains to determine steps to promote responsible sourcing of specific minerals.

These metals can come from many sources around the world, including mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which are estimated to provide approximately 18% of global tantalum production, 4% of tin, 3% of tungsten, and 2% of gold. Some of the mines in the DRC are controlled by militias responsible for atrocities that have been committed in the Congolese civil war. The background to the Congolese conflict is complicated and its resolution requires action on multiple fronts. However, promoting legitimate trade in minerals in the region may help provide an escape from the conflict.

The U.S. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, wich was signed into law on July 21, 2010. Section 1502 of the Act is a provision related to sourcing – conflict minerals The intent of the provision is to deter – through increased transparency of companies’ sourcing practices – the extreme violence and human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries funded by exploitation and trade of certain minerals.

Section 1502 instructs the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in consultation with the U.S. Department of State, to promulgate regulations requiring certain companies to submit annually a description of measures taken to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of Conflict Minerals. SEC issued final Conflict Minerals reporting rules on August 22, 2012.
Our commitment to sustainable development compels us to address this conflict, even though Gefran does not directly source minerals from the DRC and the mines are typically seven or more tiers removed from our direct suppliers.

The supply chain for the metals of concern consists of many tiers, including mines, traders, exporters, smelters, refiners, alloy producers and component manufacturers, before reaching Gefran’s direct suppliers. The combination of a lengthy, complex and regularly changing supply chain and the refining process makes it difficult to track and trace the minerals back to the mine of origin.

Gefran is committed to sourcing responsibly and considers mining activities that fuel conflict as unacceptable. Gefran’s efforts related to conflict minerals are aligned to the work of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition® (EICC®) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), for improving the transparency and traceability of metals in our supply chain.

 

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