The demands of the Dodd-Frank Act and the mandates of the EICC/GeSi program (collectively called the protocols as stated in http://www.resolv.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Smelter-Intro-Training_Final1_04_07_2012.pdf ) create many ‘grey’ areas for the scrap metal processor of ‘The 3 T’s and Gold’. The 3 T’s are Tin, Tungsten, and Tantalum.
The EICC Code of Conduct is spelled out in http://www.responsiblebusiness.org/media/docs/EICCCodeofConduct5_English.pdf and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/mining.htm.
The scrap protocol is that scrap Tantalum by definition is exempt and thus is conflict free. But what is the definition of scrap? For example, if Tantalum sinter bar is made from conflict ore, and then cut into little pieces that look like scrap, is that now considered conflict free because it is imported as scrap? If a processor that is not certified conflict free (because he processes conflict ore) processes Tantalum and imports it as scrap, is that metal now considered conflict free? The price of Tantalum ore from conflict regions is always less than the price for legitimate conflict free ore.
The intention of the protocols is that those items are not considered conflict free. But in reality, those items are coming into the market because of the ‘scrap loophole.’
If a scrap processor or an end consumer believes in the humanitarian reasons for the protocols, and takes that to heart, the choices are clear. Proper due diligence will reveal the true nature of what is being purchased.
Unfortunately, there are those in the trade who make use of the ‘scrap loophole’ or take a ‘what I don’t know won’t hurt us’ attitude.
Ultimately, it comes down to integrity.
Exotech has been continuously certified as a Conflict Free Smelter since the establishment of the protocols by the EICC and the CFS initiative.
If you are selling or buying Tantalum, especially Tantalum scrap, you can be assured that when working with Exotech on Tantalum or other exotic metals, you are working with a trusted company who not only practices the protocols, but believes in them. It is the right thing to do.