More than half of all semiconductor suppliers now comply with conflict minerals laws—is your company ready?
More than half of the global semiconductor suppliers have now taken the required steps to rid their products of prohibited conflict minerals. With the time running out to comply with U.S. government mandates, the remaining companies need to ensure that their product lines comply with the law, according to IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS).
Semiconductor suppliers across the globe have moved rapidly to ascertain that their products are free of tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold—substances that are deemed as conflict minerals, mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and bordering countries including Angola, Burundi and Rwanda.
Nearly 60 percent of these companies have issued declarations that their products are in compliance with the conflict minerals reporting requirements of the 2012 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, according to data derived from the IHS BOM Manager. The percentage of compliant companies has increased from the 7 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and the total is expected to increase to 85 percent.
The law was passed in an effort to prevent rebel groups in the DRC from using profits from illegal mines to fund their civil war efforts. Armed groups affiliated with rebels or the Congolese National Army have used violence to force people, including children, to work long hours in these unsafe mines.
Gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten are used in semiconductor fabrication and the chip assembly process. Overall, resources from the DRC make up a relatively small portion of minerals used in semiconductors and other electronic components and equipment.
Of the four raw materials, the most prevalent is tantalum, which is commonly employed in capacitors. About 10-20 percent of those raw materials are from the DRC with tin at 6 to 8 percent, tungsten, 2 to 4 percent and gold, about 1 percent or less.
While many chip companies have determined that their products are conflict-mineral free, others are still investigating their supply chains
To help semiconductor companies comply with Dodd-Frank, IHS offers data, tools and services while also gathering IHS conflict minerals data monthly from websites and environmental documents. The IHS suite of parts procurement tools can help companies comply with DRC conflict minerals content and documents.
The tools provide insight for required SEC reporting on conflict minerals, with 44 million parts with attributed DRC data.
Gregory Wood is the director, parts content, for IHS Technology.