Durbin Thanks Illinois Companies For SEC Conflict Minerals Transparency Report Filing

[WASHINGTON, DC]. – In letters to Illinois companies, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) thanked each for its leadership and effort to create clean supply chains which are free of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In early June, AAR Corporation, Deere and Company, Dover Corporation, IDEX Corporation, and Motorola Solutions, all submitted filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing steps to avoid purchasing minerals from armed groups that fuel the region’s horrific sexual violence and armed conflict. The regulations and creation of the filings were authored by Durbin – along with former Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) – and passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform package in 2010.

“The SEC rule was drafted to provide greater transparency in the use of key minerals that fuel horrific violence in the DRC and to be a catalyst for creating clean supply chains.  Some companies have made more than a good-faith effort to determine the origins of the minerals they and their suppliers use, and a few of those companies, I’m proud to say, call Illinois home,” Durbin said.

“The first overall filings are far from perfect, but we have begun the process – a process that has already spurred many conflict free smelters and mines.  I appreciate those industry players that are leading the way.  I can only hope that by cutting off this rich source of funding for the fighting in the Congo, we can help spare its citizens from the senseless violence that is tearing the country apart.”

Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are found in electronics, jewelry, airplanes and manufacturing equipment. These minerals provide weapons and salaries to fighters in the DRC, including conscripted child soldiers, who then visit unspeakable horrors on innocent civilians in return. Almost 5.5 million people have been killed during the long running conflict in the DRC, the most deadly since World War II.

An example of one of the letters is pasted below: 

  November 19, 2014

Samuel R. Allen
Deere & Company
1 John Deere Place
Moline, IL 61265

Dear Mr. Allen,

            I write to acknowledge Deere & Company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) detailing the origin of minerals used in your products.  The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protector Act includes a provision that I helped to develop, requiring companies to disclose annually the use of conflict minerals that originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or one of its adjoining countries.  It is not often that Congress can make a policy change that has life-or-death consequences for millions of people but that is exactly what this law set out to do by altering the money supply for warlords in the DRC.

            Most people do not realize that the long-running conflict in the DRC has claimed almost 5.5 million lives, making it the most deadly since World War II.  Women and children have suffered the most.  The prevalence of rape and sexual violence as a weapon is beyond belief.  Sadly, the source of funding for this conflict is also the DRC’s best potential for economic success- its minerals wealth.  Reducing the profitability of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold sourced from warlord-run mines in the DRC has not been easy, but it is yielding real, tangible and positive results.  For instance, the number of certified conflict-free smelters has more than tripled in the past year alone.

            This progress is being made, in no small part, because of corporate leadership like yours. I was pleased to see Deere and other Illinois companies file meaningful reports disclosing the origins of the minerals you and your supplies use.  Information in your filing, such as the significant undertaking to survey your supplies, list of conflict-free smelters and corporate policy, shows that Deere sees this report as more than a “check the box” exercise. Your work is helping to making the DRC a safer environment for men, women and children.  According to the Enough Project, armed groups and the Congolese army are no longer present in two thirds of the mines the group surveyed in eastern Congo, a significant step in the right direction.  My hope is that SEC filings like yours serve as an example for other companies in the years to come.

            Moving forward, I encourage Deere to continue to serve as a leader in this worldwide initiative.  The European Union is considering legislation similar to our own, and even China has instituted similar rules.  The people of the DRC should not have to suffer unspeakable violence in support of our electronics, cars and wedding rings.  I plan to mention your leadership on this matter either on the Senate floor or through the Congressional record, and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future on this worthy goal. 


Richard J. Durbin

U.S. Senator