TIL: Tungsten and gold are 'conflict minerals'

In June 2017, the EU passed a law that required traders of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (known collectively as 3TG) to show they hadn’t acquired the metals via means of armed conflict or any other human rights abuses. It came into force from 1 January 2021.

What are conflict minerals?

Conflict minerals are officially defined as minerals that are traded in “politically unstable areas” to fund wars, armed groups, forced labour, and other forms of corruption and terrorism. The 3TG metals are of particular interest as they are used in things like mobile phones, cars, and jewellery so the demand will always be there and so will high prices.

The Conflict Minerals Regulation was created to reduce the illegal trade of these metals. I’m not going to go into the regulation’s role in actually stopping armed conflict (often as a result of historical colonial violence from members of the EU) but I thought it was interesting to see those four metals in the list, particularly tungsten and gold which have widescale uses around the world.

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