Eliminating conflict minerals: A new standard for the assurance of conflict-free materials across the supply chain

September 1, 2021

The term ‘conflict mineral’ is defined as a mineral that may be mined in an area of armed conflict and traded illicitly to finance the fighting. Materials that are used in the Powder Metallurgy industry, in applications from cutting tools to superalloys and beyond, can be found in these locations and for tungsten, tantalum and tin, some of the world’s largest deposits of ore are in very hostile nations.

Conflict minerals are used in everyday products, ranging from jewellery, cars and smartphones. The battery cathode materials powering electric vehicles (EVs) are layered crystals of lithium metal oxides. Cobalt, another conflict material, is key to boosting energy density and battery life due to the fact it keeps the layered structure stable. Beyond EVs, cobalt can also be used in applications such as the production of superalloy parts for aero engines.

In recent years, corporate and consumer concerns regarding the sourcing of conflict materials have led many leading producers to take a public stance on the avoidance of conflict minerals. There is a concern, however, that in some cases these measures do not always go far enough.

In the Summer 2021 issue of Powder Metallurgy Review (Vol. 10 No. 2), Dr Keith Lloyd Jones, Red Dragon Consulting shines a light on the issues at play and the progress being made toward new solutions.

This article, along with the full magazine, is available to read in full online using the embedded browser above or downloaded as a PDF.

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As well as an extensive Powder Metallurgy industry news section, this 124-page issue includes the following exclusive articles and reports:

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Powder Metallurgy: The original net-shape production process

Powder Metallurgy components are relied upon by a wide variety of manufacturing industries, from automotive to power tools, household appliances, chemical engineering, filtration and more.

The main reason for the technology’s success is its cost-effectiveness at producing high volumes of net-shape components, combined with its ability to allow the manufacture of products that, because of the production processes, simply cannot be manufactured by other methods.

To discover more about how the technology has revolutionised component production, browse our Introduction to Powder Metallurgy.

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