Conflict Minerals in the Compute Sector: Estimating Extent of Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten, and Gold Use in ICT Products
Author(s)Fitzpatrick, Colin; Miller, T. Reed; Roth, Richard; Kirchain, Randolph; Olivetti, Elsa A.
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Recent legislation has focused attention on the supply chains of tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold (3TG), specifically those originating from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The unique properties of these so-called “conflict minerals” lead to their use in many products, ranging from medical devices to industrial cutting tools. This paper calculates per product use of 3TG in several information, communication, and technology (ICT) products such as desktops, servers, laptops, smart phones, and tablets. By scaling up individual product estimates to global shipment figures, this work estimates the influence of the ICT sector on 3TG mining in covered countries. The model estimates the upper bound of tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold use within ICT products to be 2%, 0.1%, 15%, and 3% of the 2013 market share, respectively. This result is projected into the future (2018) based on the anticipated increase in ICT device production.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Materials Processing Center; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
Environmental Science & Technology
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Fitzpatrick, Colin, Elsa Olivetti, T. Reed Miller, Richard Roth, and Randolph Kirchain. “Conflict Minerals in the Compute Sector: Estimating Extent of Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten, and Gold Use in ICT Products.” Environ. Sci. Technol. 49, no. 2 (January 20, 2015): 974–981.
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