Conflict minerals from Africa is a subject foreign to most
people. It is, however, of concern to those in the USA sourcing minerals
from African countries. Some gem dealers deal heavily in gemstones from
Africa… while a few never source gems from the entire African continent.
Map of Central Africa
Conflict minerals from Africa are defined as any mineral financing conflict
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), or neighboring country.
The term “conflict minerals” includes columbite-tantalite, also known
as coltan (from which tantalum is derived); cassiterite (tin); gold;
wolframite (tungsten); or their derivatives; or any other mineral or its
derivatives determined by the Secretary of State to be financing conflict in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country.
Now I understand there are calls to add mineral crystals
(gemstones), including sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds.
Conflict minerals from Africa are a social concern in the United States and
Europe. Laws and regulations of the US federal government impose stringent
requirements on companies using minerals originating in Central Africa.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) lies in the heart of Africa. The
DRC shares borders with a number of African countries.
Republic of the Congo,
Central African Republic
The DRC is blessed with natural resource wealth, but is plagued by armed
Some of these armed groups are simply motivated by economic greed, what we
call criminal gangs. Other groups are more sinister. They are motivated by
political greed, the quest for power.
Some of the armed groups are followers of local warlords, taking control of
some territory within the borders of the DRC. They control the people and the
resources within the territory they rule by force.
Slave labor gold mining
Other insurgent groups use DRC territory as a base from
which to strike at neighboring countries. These “rebel armies” are focused
on overthrowing the governments of countries such as Uganda and South Sudan.
Conflict minerals are a prime source of funds fueling the
various conflicts in Central Africa. These armed groups are also the source of
some of the world’s worst human rights violations. Slave labor, rape, murder,
and physical torture seem to be common tools used by these armed groups against
the populace of the regions they control.
Refugees fleeing armed rebels
Refugees fortunate enough to escape with meager belongings
tell of these atrocities.
Armed groups operating in the eastern DRC control many of
the region’s mines and/or transit routes. They sell the minerals through
intermediaries, and use the cash to fund their attacks on governments and
In response, the US federal government’s Dodd-Frank
Consumer Protection Act,
requirements intended to minimize the trade in conflict minerals.
On August 22, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission
approved the final rule on conflict minerals. All public companies must
evaluate their product lines to determine whether they contain necessary
conflict minerals and if so, file a Form SD by May 31 annually beginning in
2014, for products they manufacture or contract to manufacture in the year
2013. While the burden of compliance is on the public companies who
manufacture those products, members of their supply chains for those products
are also impacted.
The entire Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer
Protection Act is thought by many to be unconstitutional. Court challenges to
the law… or various provisions of it, are working their way through the
Conflict minerals from Africa and the Dodd-Frank Act are
in the news again because a DC federal court has reaffirmed an earlier ruling
that Section 1502 is unconstitutional, while upholding some other portions of
the law. The court said mandating public companies to use the conflict-free
wording represents compelled speech that violates the First Amendment.
Conflict minerals from Africa by any name represents a
moral challenge to people of conscience. It is widely assumed that should
Dodd-Frank be found to be unconstitutional, stand-alone legislation aimed at
encouraging responsible sourcing of these minerals could be passed quickly.
Small diamond crystals
Top - Armed rebel, warlord, or gangster?
Next - Map of Central Africa showing the DRC and
Next - Tantalum is a chemical element with symbol Ta and
atomic number 73. It is highly corrosion-resistant and is used in
electronics and a wide variety of other products.
Next - Multiple colors of Sapphire rough
Next - High quality Emerald rough
Next: - Is he the protector of the workers, or their overseer?
Next: - Refugees fleeing armed rebels. Yes, that is a wooden bicycle...
that you push.
We have other shapes, sizes, and
shades of gems available.
We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough
worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.
Gem Industry News
Bloomingdale’s Expensive Boo Boo
Bloomingdale’s the high-end department store chain owned by Macy’s Inc.
just made a newsworthy error. Someone at the company apparently confused Reward
Points with store credit. An unspecified number of customers then received
emails announcing store credit in amounts up to $25,000.
At least one customer walked away with merchandise worth many thousands of
dollars before the error was discovered and corrected.
News spoke to a 29-year-old man who received an erroneous store
credit of $25,000. “The shopper, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said
he was expecting a gift card after recently buying a pair of Ferragamo shoes,
but certainly not in the amount he saw.”
He went to Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City. Using the
erroneous store credit, he acquired a $10,000 pair of diamond earrings, a $5,000
watch, and a Louis Vuitton bag.
Bloomingdale’s has contacted him and requested that he return the items.
The sluggish economy presents an opportunity for
independent jewelry dealers to serve their existing customers and recruit new
customers this holiday season. Now is the time to plan and arrange
Most home-based jewelry dealers rely heavily on
recommendations from existing customers for new customers and sales.
Your customer base and sales can be increased
significantly by a little innovative marketing. For instance, organize a
couple of guys-only jewelry parties at friends houses.
Have the host invite his friends. They will
become your customers because you offer good deals (low overhead means low
prices on quality jewelry).
Your cost for the snacks and drinks should be paid for
with a single sale. Offer the host an incentive... $$ off a piece of
jewelry for him (sell it to him at your cost).
Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.
Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?
Do you enjoy talking with friends and friends