The United States could fuel widespread violence and corruption in central Africa if it drops a rule requiring American companies to account for their use of conflict minerals, according to U.S. senators and rights groups.
A section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed under President Barack Obama in 2010 requires U.S. companies to disclose whether any of the minerals used in their products come from Democratic Republic of Congo.
The vast central African country is rich in rare and valuable minerals. Its untapped mineral reserves are estimated to be worth up to $24 trillion, according to the United Nations.Eastern Congo, the main battleground in Africa’s deadliest war between 1998 and 2003, has huge deposits of coltan, a metallic ore that is widely used in smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices.
Mike Piwowar, the acting chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said in April that the SEC would no longer require companies to verify that their products did not use minerals that may have been mined or trafficked from Congo or other African countries.
Piwowar, a Republican, was first appointed by Obama in 2013 and was designated as acting chairman of the SEC by President Donald Trump until May 4.
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