News / Science & Technology

Intel Says Chips Are 'Conflict-Mineral' Free

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is seen speaking at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is seen speaking at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
x
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is seen speaking at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is seen speaking at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
VOA News
U.S. chip maker Intel Corp said its processors are free of so-called “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The announcement, the first of its kind from a U.S. technology firm, came from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in his keynote speech to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday.

"Two years ago, I told several colleagues that we needed a hard goal, a commitment to reasonably conclude that the metals used in our microprocessors are conflict-free," Krzanich said. "We felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to ensure that our business and our products were not inadvertently funding human atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Even though we have reached this milestone, it is just a start. We will continue our audits and resolve issues that are found."

The strife-ridden area of eastern Congo is rich with minerals crucial to the making of many electronics products. These include gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten.

Over the past two decades, militant groups, rebels and various ethnic groups have been waging a bloody conflict fueled by money from “conflict minerals.”

While Intel’s announcement is a first, other companies will soon have to disclose any "conflict minerals" present in their supply chains as stated in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which aims to make transparent various companies’ financial interests in the DRC. The disclosures must be made by the end of May of this year.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: William Qiam from: Vienna, Austria
January 11, 2014 5:21 PM
The biggest problem for both Intel and Enough Project is that both organizations know that it is impossible for Intel to do what they said they could, remove ALL "conflict minerals" from their supply chain the way they said it was accomplished.

Exclusively utilizing the ITRI "bag and tag" and the EICC smelter certification programs is that this self audited simplistic process will NEVER keep "conflict minerals" out of a supply chain in the east of the DRC and the other Great Lakes countries of Africa.

I suggested to ITRI (International Tin Research Group - a UK based tin support trade group) and EICC (The Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition - US based support group of all the global electronics manufacturing) that simply including the mineral fingerprinting capabilities of the mining industry standard XRF technology would give the necessary mineral traceability at a fraction of the cost of the "bag and tag" process alone.

Both ITRI and EICC certification processes are certifying the well known members business practices that the UN Group of Experts and others have consistently reported as being the prime drivers of the instability in the east of the DRC and Great Lakes region since colonial trading days. All one has to do is visit the mining areas in all the Great Lakes countries and they will see first hand that the standard of living of these mining areas is less developed now than during colonial times.

As I suggested to the SEC, and was included in the final "conflict minerals" rules unless the existing technology is utilized it will not be possible to conduct a "reasonable country of inquiry" that is now possible but not if there is no will on the part of companies of the stature of Intel to address this issue in a reasonable manner.

All Intel has really done accomplished at CES 2014 is use CEO Brian Krzanich keynote speech as a marketing gimmick to sell more product. The miners in the east of the DR Congo will have to wait for some small real change to their safety and basic livelihood improvements. I was Managing Director of a miner workforce of 3,800 in Rwanda and saw first hand the abuses the ITRI "bag and tag" process not only doesn't stop but actually encourages.

by: Obama's Law from: DRC
January 09, 2014 3:28 AM
Intel audited some of these smelters itself (see here: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3024292/starting-now-all-intel-microprocessors-are-conflict-free-heres-how-the-company-did-it).

This sets a dangerous precedent that risks turning this issue into a tick-box exercise that values style over substance. Take, for example, last year's tragedy in Bangladesh where more than 600 garment workers died in a building collapse that had been audited as 'safe' by many of the multinational companies sourcing from it.

The comparison with Bangladesh raises another serious issue. In the case of the garment industry, companies are auditing the direct source of the product being sold. This is not the case here.

Most important in determining the conflict-free nature of minerals from the eastern DRC is not what happens from the smelter to the final product, but from the mine to the smelter. You can go as deep into a smelter as you like, it's not going to tell you about the most important journey minerals make before they get there.

www.obamaslaw.com

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs