Responsible Mineral Sourcing: Insight From the U.S. Department of State & Intel

Responsible Mineral Sourcing: Insight From the U.S. Department of State & Intel

At the Supply Chain Summit Series in San Diego last month, I moderated a panel called Responsible Minerals: Past, Present, Future. It featured Pamela Fierst-Walsh, Senior Advisor on Conflict Minerals and U.S. Representative to the Kimberley Process, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and my former colleague at Intel Corporation, Andreina Hines.

With the combination of Pamela Fierst-Walsh’s newly-formed, prominent position in the U.S. government, and the strength of Intel’s influential conflict minerals program, the audience was able to hear from true leaders in responsible mineral sourcing.

The panel discussed how companies of any size, with varied resources available, can meet industry expectations by following due diligence processes, particularly as they shift from programs that exclusively look at conflict minerals to programs that consider how a wide range of materials are sourced.

The panelists identified the best way to do this: follow the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, particularly Steps 2 and 3, to meet industry expectations. The guidance is scalable, and outlines a clear path for companies of all sizes to conduct due diligence on their supply chains. Companies can also refer to the guidance as they begin to evaluate their use of materials beyond the 3TGs, such as cobalt.

Fierst-Walsh also touched on the broad nature of responsible mineral sourcing programs. She said that Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is still very much the law today, but the conversation is shifting. Discussions are beginning to include topics such as human trafficking and slavery in all areas of the world, U.S. sanctions, and concerns around human health, such as the use of mercury in gold mining, as outlined in the Minamata Convention.


Hear more about responsible mineral sourcing from Pamela Fierst-Walsh in our guide, Responsible Mineral Sourcing in 2019: With Contributions From the U.S. Department of State.


The U.S. government has taken action against corruption in the mining industry, as evidenced by sanctions placed on Israeli businessman Dan Gertler. These sorts of sanctions are legal requirements that companies must consider as part of their present-day responsible mineral sourcing programs. To address these risks, some companies have adopted enhanced due diligence programs, with the goal of providing evidence that they have no direct business interest in sanctioned entities.  

If you were unable to attend the conference, you can read more of Pamela Fierst-Walsh’s insight into responsible mineral sourcing and sanctions in our guide, Responsible Mineral Sourcing in 2019: With Contributions From the U.S. Department of State.

To learn how Assent’s supply chain data management solution can support your conflict mineral, responsible mineral sourcing and extended due diligence programs, contact info@assentcompliance.com.

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