New Evidence Ties Apple’s Supply Chain to Illegally Exported Minerals from DRC

New Evidence Ties Apple’s Supply Chain to Illegally Exported Minerals from DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced new evidence linking Apple’s supply chain to illegally exported minerals from the eastern part of the country.

The DRC is known for its abundance of tin, tungsten, and tantalum—collectively known as the “3Ts”—which are essential in manufacturing electronic devices such as smartphones and computers.

Whistleblowers Reveal Links to Blood Minerals

Amsterdam & Partners LLP, a US-based law firm, disclosed in a statement seen by TechCabal that whistleblowers have provided new evidence suggesting that Apple benefits from what are termed “blood minerals.”

These are minerals sourced from conflict zones. If these allegations prove true, they could severely impact Apple’s reputation for social and environmental responsibility.

Urgency for Apple to Address Serious Allegations

Robert Amsterdam, a partner at Amsterdam & Partners LLP, emphasized the urgency for Apple to respond to these serious allegations.

He stated, “In recent weeks, since the release of the Blood Minerals report by Amsterdam & Partners, we have received new evidence from whistleblowers.

It is more urgent than ever that Apple provide real answers to the very serious questions we have raised, as we evaluate our legal options.”

Smuggling Routes and Apple’s Denial

Amsterdam further claimed that Apple has indirectly benefited from minerals smuggled by armed groups in eastern DRC through neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

However, Apple has denied these claims, asserting that it maintains a rigorous due diligence process.

This process is designed to exclude smelters and refiners sourcing the 3Ts from conflict regions, in compliance with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.

Legal Actions and Apple’s Silence

In April, Amsterdam & Partners, along with the Paris-based firm Bourdon & Associés, wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing their concerns about Apple’s supply chain.

They requested that these concerns be addressed within three weeks. William Bourdon, a partner at Bourdon & Associés, remarked, “The absence of a response is an implicit admission that the questions we asked Apple were relevant.”

Conflict and Mineral Wealth in Eastern DRC

The eastern provinces of the DRC have been plagued by decades of conflict involving armed groups like the M23 rebels and government forces.

This region holds some of the world’s largest deposits of coltan, from which tantalum is extracted, making it a significant area of interest for the global electronics industry.


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