They are called 3TGs. They are Gold, Tin, Tungsten, and Tantalum. Conflict minerals regulations in the US and Europe target these 4 minerals coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries, where some mines are at risk of being under the control of terrorist activists. A corporate human trafficking policy is a good start to ban it from supply chains.
Human Trafficking Policy in the Electronic Industry
However, additional threats challenge Congolese families living near mines. And they are multiple! On top of terrorist bullying and abuse, are modern slavery, child labor, safety hazard, low income, poor working conditions, and toxic pollution.
These issues don’t only affect the extraction of gold, tin, tungsten, or tantalum, but also other minerals used in our everyday electronic devices and lithium batteries, such as copper and cobalt.
For example, a study published in April by Elsevier Ltd. revealed that pollution caused by cobalt mining is a factor of birth defects among the nearby Congolese populations.