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back to article New US rule aims to crack down on Congolese capacitors

In an effort to stem the flow of foreign money into war-torn Africa, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued new rules requiring manufacturers to publicly disclose whether they use minerals extracted from the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or any neighboring countries. Conflict diamonds, also …

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Other materials??

Like crude oil?

That mineral finances LOTS of conflicts. I don't know if that is on the list, but it is in LOTS of stuff we consume.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Other materials??

If loads of US companies use minerals from the DRC and there is enough money in it, the US will have two options, use subversion and topple the government instal a puppet regime that will work with the US or invade.

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Anonymous Coward

Does that make them blood capacitors?

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Trollface

odd how govs think more paperwork fixes things

got a problem, raised an issue ? Dead tree will fix it!

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Silver badge

As it stands.

"Several major Asian electronics manufacturers – including Canon, HTC, Nikon, Nintendo, and Sharp – had failing marks, and Nintendo in particular was found to have made "no known effort to trace or audit its supply chain. ... By comparison, major US and European electronics companies [...] rated fairly well. All had made significant efforts to address the problem of conflict materials, the report found, with Apple, HP, Intel, and Motorola called out as "pioneers of progress."

By restricting the demand for "blood minerals" and thereby driving down the price for those buyers willing to buy them while increasing the costs of doing business for buyers who shun them, the fact that some corporations have made progress here will very likely benefit the companies that made no efforts at all. This could exacerbate the problem that it is trying to solve by making it more imperative for the warring factions to gain control over more resources than they control now, as the revenue their currently-controlled resources shrinks.

I would expect that most people's purchasing will still be heavily price-dependent, and that the income from sales gained by this or that company for not using conflict minerals will not come close to offsetting the income lost because of the higher prices it will force them to charge.

Not necessarily the wisest policy that has ever been devised unless the non-compliers are going to be compelled to comply.

But then, there are the other potential problems noted in the article.

The end result is that this measure, as it stands, could easily be yet another "do-good" measure that does more harm than good.

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FAIL

The exercise of cataloguing all the components

is somewhat tedious, and Turtle points out, largely pointless.

It's hard to see how the requirement is anything other than a political sop inserted into the Dodd-Frank act, buried in its thousands of pages, which punishes failure to disclose the use of the ores mentioned. It doesn't prohibit their use, mind, just failure to note the fact. I'm not convinced it does anything other than provide a mechanism to punish a company if their filing is incorrect - certainly, while the 'conflict' ores are the cheapest, they're the ones that will be bought by the primary suppliers. And there are few end-manufacturers with enough clout to tell, e.g. Vishay where they should buy their minerals.

Once again, US political point-scoring affects the whole world. Gee, thanks. I wonder if the US has *any* laws that fit on one page?

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Silver badge

Re: The exercise of cataloguing all the components

We only use ethical gold, we get it from Switzerland, who got it from Nazi's who got it from Jewish false teeth, who got it from Spanish noblemen who got it from South America. So historical and totally ethical.

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It's not all about the manufacturers

Surely this act applies to the retailers too. Getting a bit of a fine is small fry compared to having major retailers not able to sell your goods.

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Mushroom

Re: It's not all about the manufacturers

You would think so, but recent lobbying by the Big Box stores (notably WalMart and Target — sort of like Tesco, if you're unfamiliar), claiming that as they are not manufacturers they have no control over the content of the goods they sell, has resulted in a sort of waiver for them. Of course, this is rather disingenuous of them: such goods are manufactured FOR them, at their order. But, y'know, here in the Land of the Free, Money conquers all...

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Re: It's not all about the manufacturers

I don't know the exact details but US Retailers are doing something with this.

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Boffin

Tantalum

Tantalum capacitors look to be on the way out - I don't see them in new phone designs, and haven't used any in my designs for a few years. They are expensive, have quite a high ESR and can catch fire. High value ceramic capacitors are now commonplace and pretty much ideal components. power supply frequencies are increasing also - this allows smaller values to be used, tiltng the market towards ceramic again.

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An excellent way of handing business to China.

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Thumb Down

So the Chinese move in, mine the minerals and declare they are of Chinese origin...

Prove otherwise!

Can't see this being useful.

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Anonymous Coward

MSG from a cynic

"Several major Asian electronics manufacturers – including Canon, HTC, Nikon, Nintendo, and Sharp – had failing marks, and Nintendo in particular"

Under the pretext of saving Africa from foreign financed conflict, lobbysts for major US corporations have pressured Washington into passing legislation to hinder the importation of the said companies products.

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Terminator

The war being fought in Africa now

Is a bigger war than that even for OIL.GAS....

These are precious minerals. In many ways they are harder to get out of the ground.

They need more finesse. They need a human mind to process. Think of gold-panning in the days of old.

Good ol' Congo. Good ol' Belgium. Good ol' King Leopold.

Where hacked off hands actually became currency. That's right. As good as a dollar or two.

The rubber from the trees would stick to their skin and pull all their hair off, but it was better than having hands hacked off. Then they move the trade to south america.

But no, let's stick with Central Africa for the moment. Stanley Falls. Kisengani. Joseph Conrad. Heart of darkness. Dennis Hopper. Marlon Brando. Apocalypse now.

Wtf did you think Marlon Brando (Colonel Kurtz) was talking about when he talked about the diamond bullet between the eyes. It was the piles of hacked of arms/hands. It was currency. They could not make their slaves make their quota of latex for the day, then they better make sure they make their quota of punishment for not doing so - hands/ arms..

It was like a diamond bullet between the eyes. Lots of people think that film was set in Vietnam. And it had massive parallels as such. But it was Heart of Darkness that bore the true tale.

The world was moving from the 19th to the 20th Century - they needed RUBBER, RUBBER, RUBBER. And not for even anything kinky - that would come much later. They needed it for automobile tires. For Henry Ford.

For the forwarding of the industrial revolution. They needed slaves. Good old fashioned Niggers. The same kind of Niggers that would plant and pick the cotton, that would plant and pick and process the sugar cane.

It's all in history's books. I talk nothing new.. Call me out if I am wrong on anything less than a detail I dare you.

And now we have a new war. Why do you think the Chinese are in Africa? Altruism? Beneficence?

They are playing catch up to the US/UK/. They might have even learned lessons and left it alone, but like Vic and Bob, they just would not let it lie. How could they. The game is afoot. It's a dirty little war, that won't even be settled by the big bombs the big boys are about to set off.

Welcome to the 21st Century. You had it so good for so long. You think the loss of your pension is your biggest quarrel?

All the best.

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