Human rights abuses are present in the mining of minerals widely used by technology firms, according to a new report.
The risk of sourcing tainted tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold (3TG) has spread well beyond the traditional home of "conflict minerals" in Central Africa, global analyst Verisk Maplecroft's Commodity Risk Service found.
It also discovered that many companies overlook the risks of sourcing 3TG minerals outside DR Congo and the African Great Lakes region. In fact, their supply chains are in danger of being linked to armed groups and serious social and environmental damage.
The report is claiming that 3TG minerals are being produced under the control of armed groups in Myanmar and Colombia to fund violence.
In northeastern Myanmar the United Wa State Army, an ethnic minority army, is involved in tin production whose output has been traced to Chinese factories producing electronic products.
Meanwhile in Colombia armed groups such as the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) control gold and tungsten mining operations.
“U.S. supply chain legislation on mandatory reporting and traceability has focused on 3TG minerals from the Great Lakes,” said Stefan Sabo-Walsh, director of commodities research at Verisk Maplecroft. “This can leave tech firms focused on one region despite the myriad risks occurring elsewhere in their supply chains.”