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It's a problem that's not just confined to the diamond trade or a Kanye West song. Conflict Minerals are utilized in many industries and applications, including the automotive industry. The term "conflict" is applied to a mineral mined in nations where the mining is done under the condition of armed conflict and often the severe abuse of human rights. One of the most notable areas producing conflict minerals is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The minerals mined include tantalum, tin, gold and tungsten, all of which are used within the automotive industry. With more advanced vehicles in the production pipeline (particularly hybrids and full-electrics with their larger battery needs), rare-earth mineral supplies are becoming more and more crucial.

According to Ward's Auto, automakers, as well as automotive parts suppliers, have been tasked with proposing methods of regulating conflict minerals and they are facing a January 31 deadline on the discussions. If a company finds that it's utilizing materials with a source originating in a conflict region, then it's required to disclose that. Even if a company can't trace the exact origin of materials they used, they will have to disclose that it's possible that conflict materials were used.

The Automotive Industry Action Group is researching ways to insure that non-conflict materials are utilized. However, this is far more difficult than simply looking back at the origin of a specific part. One has to go all the way back to the smelter who turned the source materials into the components necessary to create the parts.

[Source: WardsAuto.com | Image: Lionel Healing/AFP/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "automakers, as well as automotive parts suppliers, have been tasked with proposing methods of regulating conflict minerals and they are facing a January 31 deadline on the discussions"
      Who has done the "tasking?"

      And Who, pray tell is "The Automotive Industry Action Group"?

      I suppose the commodity exchanges are exempt from this lunacy.
      My question, again, is, Who are the loons requiring this "tasking"?

      The idiotic result of this simplistic thinking by simpletons paid exhoribitant sums is that when anyone orders anything more paperwork is required and the cost of materials go up, and MOST important the government, that is officially recognised, and probably subsidized by the loons, stays in place and nothing is done to change it, or its ways.
      Another example of jobs filled by fools, paid big salaries to think up nothingness that will cost the end user and absolutely accomplish nothing. The names and addresses of the loons should be published so we may know who are the idiots.
      If you want to stop the trafficking in those goods, do so at the source. Don't let it get to the market, don not punish the unknowing end users.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I see, from Ward's, the LOONS are the SEC. Its action is based on another "social engineering" act by the gob of fools called congress.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Darn, should have grabbed that early expansion! Those automakers already have a large enough army, tim to macro up to avoid that mineral choke.
      • 4 Years Ago

      AIAG is an organization that is well known in automotive circles. Rather than describe what they do or who they are, I will just point you to their website:

      Regarding who they are, here is the board of directors:

      and Management:

      I don't agree with everything they do and consider most of their "check the box" activity wasteful, but I am glad that "someone" is looking for solutions to this global problem. I agree though, the solution will be at the source, not the end-user.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I really don't understand the logic of moving from petroleum to rare earth minerals. If it's stricly a balancing of power, moving influence away from the middle east, then I understand. What I don't understand is that we'll be creating yet another imbalance of wealth and prosperity to regions of the world where yet again, human rights will be last priority.

      In short, we lose petrol and switch to rare minerals effectively giving money and power to nations with little respect for human rights. Yes China, you're on that list.

      Go figure.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The loss of lives in these mines is frightening but never mentioned by the Movie 'A' listed Pirus drivers. A lot more can be done with fossil fuels, just look a VW 's Blue Motion Cars, some of those are good for 70mpg!.
        I want to be 'Greener' but not at the expense of some ones life.
      • 4 Years Ago
      some thing tells me toyota CEO's won't loose no sleep over human rights!