Newsweek published an article “Where Apple gets the tantalum for your iPhone” on the 4 th February 2015 which made various assertions and criticisms of both the Conflict Free Smelter Programme (CFSP), and the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (ITSCI) Programme. The author did not contact ITRI for comment on this article and our response is therefore detailed below. In summary;

  • Newsweek irresponsibly implies the entire country of DRC and the region are impacted by conflict,
    sensationalising and exaggerating the extent of insecurity
  • Newsweek declares, based on no real evidence, and contrary to reality, that there is no, or insufficient
    paperwork to track minerals
  • Newsweek ignores the efforts of ITSCI field teams who constantly report on production changes and
    security issues
  • Newsweek quotes barely understandable and confused mineral tonnage figures in an attempt to
    support the implication of smuggling conflict mineral from the DRC into Rwanda
  • Newsweek makes a number of other very basic errors which indicate very poor research and
    understanding of the subject

In reality, the quantity of conflict-free and traceable tantalum from both the DRC and Rwanda is on a clearly increasing trend offering new opportunity to miners and the economy of the region.