News / Science & Technology

Intel Leads With Conflict-Free Chips

Intel Outlook
Intel Outlook
George Putic
Manufacture of modern electronic components, such as computers and smart phones, requires rare minerals found in some of the world’s worst conflict areas.  Earlier this year, a major U.S. computer chip maker, Intel Corporation, announced that it has stopped buying minerals from the conflict zones and that its products are now “conflict free.”  

Gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten are often called ‘conflict minerals’ because they come from regions plagued by some of the world's worst violence.  One of them is Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the commodities’ high value is fueling fighting over the mineral rich areas.

Intel’s conflict-free program manager, Carolyn Duran, speaking via Skype, says it took several years to carefully build a new infrastructure to avoid inadvertently supporting the conflicts.

“We know where these minerals show up in our products, we know which suppliers provide us parts or components that have those in them, so we actually spent the first couple of years mapping the supply chain out to get to the smelter," said Duran.

Duran says Intel required the smelters to show the sourcing of the minerals so the corporation could be sure that they were 'conflict-free'.

But simply switching to suppliers from other parts of the world could hurt non-combatants in conflict zones, who depend on the jobs in the mines.  In order to minimize the effects of the loss of those jobs, Intel is also helping other humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We do support in-region programs, which helps provide a source of livelihood for those that are legitimate miners in the region, and we are investigating other opportunities to see from a broader corporate social responsibility if there is more that we can do in the region," she said.

But other high-tech manufacturers continue to buy from conflict zones. Duran says she hopes Intel’s initiative prompts them to reconsider their sources.

“Our hope is, as we become more public on it, and demonstrate that this can be done, that others would do the same thing, that they would look through their supply chains and ensure that they know the source of the origin of the minerals and materials they use, too," said Duran.

Although Intel has invested time and resources in this initiative, Duran says consumers will not see any increase in the prices of Intel's chips.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More