AVX Corporation announced that it has taken delivery of the first shipment of verified conflict-free DRC tantalum ore from the 'Solutions for Hope Project' through the secure "closed pipe" supply line. AVX is also pleased to announce that four additional leading technology companies have joined the project, including Intel and HP.
The 'Solutions for Hope Project' is the pilot program established in July 2011 by AVX, in partnership with a leading producer of communications technology, to demonstrate a process for delivering conflict-free tantalum material from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) due diligence guidance.
On August 30, 2011, AVX took delivery of the first shipment of "Conflict-Free" DRC tantalite ore containing 5,000lbs of Ta2O5 from the DRC regional government licensed mine area concession holder. The ore is now being freighted from Johannesburg, South Africa to a smelter, who is a participant in the EICC and GeSI Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) program, to be converted into capacitor-grade powder and wire. AVX will process these materials into high-quality capacitors for shipment to the growing number of participating customers for incorporation into end-market products.
The project followed ITRI's Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) "bag and tag" plan, which is itself subject to independent third party on-the-ground assessment. The assessment and audit review confirmed the initial shipment meets the OECD "conflict free" requirements for due diligence. During the year, there will be a number of audits of the pilot program by key stakeholders, including an ex-member of the UN Panel of Experts for the DRC; the director of supplier corporate responsibility from AVX's initial customer partner company; Bill Millman, AVX Tantalum Divisional Director of Quality and Technology; and members of the regional and national governments, as well as the concession holder. AVX is also engaged with capacity building experts with regional experience to assist in building a reliable, robust and sustainable process for delivering conflict-free ore from the DRC to global markets.
The initial delivery of conflict-free tantalum ore is a small, but crucial first step to fulfilling the project's goal of establishing a secure "closed pipe" supply line from the DRC region. This will help companies to respect human rights and avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral or metal purchasing decisions and practices, while providing income to artisanal miners and communities in the DRC region. AVX encourages others involved in the production and use of tantalum products to follow this example.
Posted by Janine E. Mooney, Associate Editor