The term, "Conflict Minerals", refers to the minerals of 4 metals that are fundamental for any economy (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold) from conflict zones, with consequent violation of human rights, labour exploitation and possible funding of armed groups.
In 2010, the United States of America passed a law (Dodd-Franck Act) which, among other things, requires all American companies listed on the stock exchange to trace the origin of the 4 metals in question contained in its products in order to demonstrate that the procurement of these materials took place in full compliance with the law and human rights. This provision can also have serious repercussions for EU suppliers of US companies, whose overseas customers require verification of the origin of the metals contained in their products, thereby tracing back along the entire supply chain until reaching, for example, the foundries that obtained the metals in question.
A similar law as to objectives, but with different contents, was also adopted by the EU by way of Reg. (EU) 2017/821. The management of compliance with these regulations can be very complex for a company, since it requires close dialogue with all respective suppliers and can cover the most varied products, including those in common use (e.g., electronic products, mechanical components, etc.).
However, ensuring compliance with these regulations, together with sound company management can become a powerful commercial advantage.