The Dodd Frank Act was passed by the US Congress in July 2010. It included a provision – Section 1502 – that aimed to break the link between conflict and minerals in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Section 1502 requires all companies listed on the US stock market to trace the minerals used in their supply chain and to declare whether these minerals are conflict-free or not. It specifically targets resources from the DRC and focuses on four minerals: tin, tantalum, tungsten – often referred to as the 3Ts – and gold.
When President Trump’s draft executive order to temporarily suspend Section 1502 was leaked by the Guardian on February 8, 2017, it caused commotion and triggered various reactions. The Congolese Minister of Mines stated that the suspension of Section 1502 “in the long run, will jeopardize the stability and security of the DRC by encouraging an escalation in the activities of non-state armed groups”. Human rights activists, who were among the main actors lobbying for the regulation, also deplored the suspension, calling it “a gift to predatory armed groups seeking to profit from Congo’s minerals as well as a gift to companies wanting to do business with the criminal and the corrupt”. Congo scholars, on the other hand, said that Trump was “right on Congo’s minerals, but for all the wrong reasons” .
Sara Geenen has written on Trump’s decision to repeal Dodd Frank in The Conversation: see here.
Also see Emmanuel Freudenthal’s article ‘How advocacy gave Trump ammunition on conflict minerals’ here.
Associate CEGEMI researchers Nik Stoop and Marijke Verpoorten have written on how Dodd-Frank has impacted local conflict events in Eastern DRC. See a research article in PLoS One, a blog post in the Washington Post, and a Research Brief for the Cato Institute.