Capitalized terms used but not otherwise defined in this Amendment shall have the meanings ascribed to such terms in the Schedule 13D.
So a year ago, Apple made a bold claim: It had audited smelters in its supply chain and none of them used tantalum from war-torn regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC. While Apple acknowledged that it could not make the same claim for gold, tin and tungsten—three other important commodities essential to modern electronics but mined in war zones—the announcement about tantalum was an important step for human rights advocates who have long called for more transparency from international companies.
But how can Apple be so sure?
Experts note the widespread smuggling of ore across porous borders in areas racked by conflict, with scarce paper trails for ore mined by villagers in small artisanal mines in countries where warlords control exports.
Moreover, audit procedures Dell the sec smelters in China and Russia are opaque and vulnerable to corruption. The disclosure by Apple, which Dell the sec reported the largest quarterly profit of any company in corporate history, was unusual in that it went beyond a new regulation passed by the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC in under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act.
That new rule requires U.
Backed by Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric and other major consumers of such ores, the audit program has seen various tweaks to its procedures as it clears smelters in recent years. Nearly all computers, cellphones and other high-tech gadgets use tantalum, a pearly, blue-gray mineral found in Brazil and Australia but also in Rwanda and the DRC, which has endured what the International Rescue Committee calls the bloodiest conflict since World War II.
More than 5 million people have been killed there sincerape has been used as a weapon of war, and slave labor and conscription of child soldiers are common. Tantalite, the ore bearing tantalum, is not traded on commodities exchanges but instead bought and sold through shadowy networks of dealers, so its origins are easily disguised.
Refined into coltan at smelters in countries such as China, Kazakhstan and the United States, the mineral is sold to manufacturers that make capacitors, high-tech devices that hold electrical charges and are essential to everything from iPads to airplanes. In FebruaryApple for the first time named all the smelters in its supply chain that handle the four conflict minerals tantalum, gold, tin and tungsten.
They were in countries including China, Brazil, the U. The figures show progress—more smelters refining clean metal or undergoing audits to ensure they do—compared with just six months earlier, when Apple said that of the smelters it used for the four metals, just 59 were compliant, 23 were undergoing audits, and had not participated in audits.
Such procedures fall short of global standards set by the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development because they do not require smelters to publicly report on risks uncovered or any corrective steps.
So when barely 1, companies filed initial disclosures last summer, there was some concern and disappointment. The spike deepened suspicions that ore was being smuggled across the border from conflict areas in the DRC.
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The minerals are smuggled out of Congo into Rwanda and Burundi for export. Group of Experts report last August. Asked about its audit procedures and how it can be sure the tantalum it uses is conflict-free, Apple declined to provide an official for an interview or to answer on-the-record questions sent by email.
In addition, many of the minerals are smelted together with recycled metals, and at that point, it is virtually impossible to trace the minerals to their source. Even parts of that requirement are being challenged. Last April, a Washington, D. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, all powerful trade groups.
However, the outlook remains uncertain after an appeals court decision last November to rehear the issue.Free exclusive business and finance video segments from the editors of Fortune.
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Jul 22, · The SEC charges against Dell extend to CEO Michael Dell. "It was these payments, rather than the company's management and operations, that allowed Dell to meet its earnings targets," the SEC said in a prepared statement.
Joseph McCray. Joe McCray is a US Air Force Veteran and has been in the IT Security field for over 12 years. He has worked extensively with the medical community, the financial industry, retail, the federal sector, the Department of Defense, 3-letter agencies, and several foreign governments.
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