Intel is now conflict free

Chipzilla used the CES show at Las Vegas to tell the world+dog that it no longer had blood on its hands by using minerals from mines held by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Intel is the first major US technology company to make such a claim about its products and it is not as easy as you think. A mobile can contain components from hundreds or thousands of suppliers. Intel relies on relatively few suppliers for its chips.

Even then, it took Chipzilla four years to determine the exact sources of four crucial metals widely used in electronics manufacturing: tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold.

Eastern Congo is rich in minerals, and economic activity other than mining has been disrupted by nearly two decades of fighting between the government, rogue soldiers and different ethnic groups.

Foreign purchases of minerals from mines held by armed groups are fuelling the conflict, mostly by providing the soldiers with a steady income.

In 2010, the US required public companies to report whether their products contain minerals from rebel-held mines in Congo

Carolyn Duran, manager of Intel’s “conflict minerals” programme said that Intel still buys minerals from the region, as long as it’s comfortable the mines are in good hands. This is because if it did not buy from legitimate mines then whole communities would starve.