National Public Radio recently broadcast a report on the mining of "conflict minerals," minerals that are extracted in worn-torn countries often under the watchful eye of war lords. "Monitoring Conflict Minerals: Who's Accountable?" (June 15, 2010) is well worth listening to.
As the price of minerals such as gold and tin increase and the need for war lords to restock their financial cupboards continues to exist, this sort of practice is likely to receive greater public scrutiny. One group that seems sure to receive increased attention in terms of where their minerals are coming from is the high tech industry. It should surprise no one when shareholders begin to ask corporate executives whether they fully understand their own supply chains.