New U.S. logistics management challenge: sourcing raw materials

America has a growing mineral dependence on nations with abysmal labor practices and human rights violations

By ·

According to the American Resources Policy Network – a non-partisan education and public policy research organization – recent legislation may discourage responsible development of U.S. mineral resources. At the same time, supply chains for sourcing minerals and other raw materials may be severely effected if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has its way.

Among the miscellaneous provisions contained in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is one mandating disclosures on “conflict materials” in or near the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Initial analysis of Dodd-Frank (Section 1502), indicates that it contains too many loopholes to have a meaningful impact,” said Dan McGroarty, American Resources Policy Network president.

McGroarty said Section 1502 – the conflict metals legislation – is well-intended and certainly aims at a worthy goal, however.

“Everyone should stand for protecting human rights doing all we can to ensure that mining operations employ responsible labor practices,” he said. “But taking a metal and establishing the mine of origin is difficult, and in a conflict zone, the difficulties are multiplied.  The people overseeing the conflict mines have a vested interest in merging their metals into the market stream of legitimate metals trading.”

He added that companies are in “a tough spot” doing this sort of detective work, and the new 1502 rules acknowledge this, by granting an extension of 2 years (4 years for smaller commercial entities) to sort out how they can confirm provenance and comply with the law.

In an interview with our sister publication— Supply Chain Management Review—McGroarty also noted that the legislation brings to the fore America’s growing mineral dependence on nations with abysmal labor practices and human rights violations in countries like China, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

“America has significant mineral resources – including those we need for dozens of clean-tech innovations. Yet, instead of working to ensure mining companies can responsibly and efficiently develop these resources, the EPA is taking unprecedented steps to shut down and even preemptively block mining projects,” he said.

McGroarty said that this only deepens our mineral dependence on unstable countries. It also increases raw material costs for American manufacturers – including green-tech industries – stifling domestic investment and job creation.

“The number one thing we can do as Americans to stop the scourge of ‘blood minerals’ is to develop a vibrant mining industry here at home, based on our strong environmental, labor and human rights standards,” he said.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Essential Guide to High Value, Low TCO WMS on the Fast Track
A warehouse could become your weakest link if you can’t execute with speed and accuracy. Your bottom line will be negatively impacted, so will your customer’s experience, and they are only one click away from buying from your competitors!
Download Today!
From the November 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships into true, collaborative partnerships—and greatly strengthened its logistics and supply chain operations in the process.
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: 2017 Awards Dinner
Trucking Regulations: Washington U-Turns; States put hammer down
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Make Your Products Smarter in the Supply Chain with the IoT
This webinar explores how temperature-sensing smart labels and inexpensive NFC tags are being used to extend product safety and efficiency beyond the shipping dock while also building a communication bridge to your customers.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year: Mallinckrodt; Mastering and managing complexity
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships...
2017 Alliance Awards: Recognizing outstanding supply chain partnerships
In an era where effective supply chain collaboration is both highly valued and elusive, Logistics...

26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...