After three years of deliberation, the Council of the European Union has just approved legislation that will hopefully cut off a major source of income for armed groups using mineral trade.

In a series of amendments made to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines in 2011, EU companies in all 23 member countries will have to provide certified sources for all of their imported minerals, including tin, tantalum, gold, and tungsten.

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The minerals that these companies buy are usually used in cell phones, jewelry, or automotive transportation. Armed groups in high-risk conflict areas are notorious for using forced labor to mine these minerals which they then sell to fund their activities. Forcing at least 95% of European importers (with exemption to smaller companies) to verify the source of their minerals will hopefully ensure product traceability and cut off the funding of illicit activities in other countries.

The full extent of the regulation will not be entirely implemented until November 2021. In the mean time, EU officials say that they will be creating a handbook for smaller importing companies to use in order to identify forced labor-mined minerals and high-risk conflict areas.

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