Conflict Minerals – international regulation of the mineral supply chain is evolving

In the last blog, we identified that the international regulation of the mineral supply chain is evolving. What started as a government request to industry to identify the source of so-called “conflict” minerals, has now grown to a responsibility to identify the potential for causing harm such as human rights abuses or institutional instability.

The potential for human activity to cause harm to others reminds me of a phrase that I learned as a young medical student. When treating a patient, “First, do no harm.”

“First do no harm” is a phrase that was added to the Hippocratic Oath for physicians in the 17th Century. It reminds the physician to reflect on the potential impact that their choice of actions could have, before implementing treatment for a patient.

In the case of the participants all along the mining supply chain, “First, do no harm” demands that participants in the supply chain be fully aware of all of the activities that they and their suppliers perform as they undertake mineral supply.



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