US urges end to use of Congo conflict minerals

Published May 17, 2010

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is pressing American industries to end the use of so-called conflict minerals that are fueling violence in eastern Congo.

At a meeting at the State Department on Friday, U.S. officials met with representatives of electronics, automotive and other companies whose products contain tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold.

The department said they discussed ways to ensure the companies' products do not contain minerals illicitly mined in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC.

"We are working towards the common goal of ending the use of conflict minerals from the DRC," said Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats.

U.S. officials and rights groups say armed militias in eastern Congo are forcing villagers to extract the minerals. They say profits are used to purchase weapons and extend the cycle of violence that has ravaged the region for more than a decade.

Friday's meeting was part of a larger administration effort to help manufacturers avoid using conflict minerals.

Written by MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

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