Charlotte companies search supply chains for minerals from Congo

Because of the Dodd- Frank financial reform act, companies have to examine their supply chains for so called “conflict minerals” to determine whether they came from Africa’s Congolese region, where some mining operations help fund armed militias. “Conflict minerals” include tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold.
In the first round of regulatory filings supplied to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), companies are saying it’s impossible to find out where exactly these minerals in their products are coming from. Complex products such as electronics may pass through lengthy supply chains.
Eight companies based in the Charlotte area are included. Five of them had insufficient information to determine where their materials originated: SPX Corp., Carlisle Cos., Babcock & Wilcox, Curtiss- Wright Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Two companies (Nucor and Belk Inc.) said they had “no reason to believe” their metals originated in the countries in question, according to company filings.
Lowe’s Inc. identified 21,000 products that could include conflict minerals and said the company would continue to figure out more information from suppliers. The results of this Examination: an inability to pinpoint minerals’ origins.
The SEC estimated compliance would cost companies between $3 billion and $4 billion in the first year. The agency initially said costs would decrease in subsequent years – to somewhere from  $206 million to $609 million.
Carly Oboth, a campaigner with nonprofit organization Global Witness, said: “They’ve just checked the box without providing any details. In future years, we want to see them following through with their commitments laid out in their reports.”
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