A new law aims to stop the flow of metals from conflict zonesA provision buried deep within the 2,300-page financial reform bill signed by President Barack Obama earlier this month will require private-sector companies to file an annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing the sources of their raw minerals - an effort to ensure "clean supply chains" for America's major manufacturing companies.

The provision is aimed at halting the flow of "conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a nation still suffering the effects of spillover from the Rwandan Civil War and a series of internal conflicts made worse by an inept government. Minerals that can be sourced from the DRC, such as tungsten, tin and tantalum, are commonly found in everyday objects, from cell phones to aircraft engines.

The law is taking aim at the supply chains of large companies, which sometimes choose to source minerals from nations like the DRC because the prices are so low. The goal is not to end the importation of minerals from the DRC, but rather to stop the demand for items mined in conflict zones, thereby putting an end to the human rights abuses that make those minerals so inexpensive.

For consumers that wish to avoid conflict metals, many electronics may now be labeled as "DRC conflict free" when their supply chains are certified clean.
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