The problem of conflict minerals: A review of current approaches and a web 3.0 inspired road ahead


Kapoor I., Pratt-Rogers W., Kahraman M. M.

RESOURCES POLICY, vol.79, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 79
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2022.103064
  • Journal Name: RESOURCES POLICY
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Aerospace Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Communication Abstracts, EconLit, Index Islamicus, INSPEC, Metadex, PAIS International, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Blockchain, Mineral provenience, Mineral traceability, Distributed ledger, Sustainability, Supply chain management, CORPORATE SOCIAL-RESPONSIBILITY, SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT, GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN DETERMINATION, MINING-INDUSTRY, VOLUNTARY CODES, SELF-REGULATION, HUMAN-RIGHTS, ICP-MS, BLOCKCHAIN, BUSINESS
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Responsible sourcing of mineral inputs to manufactured goods is a significant problem in today's world. Ill -sourced minerals not only finance terrorism, human trafficking, and other major issues in society, but they deter deliberately conscientious organizations from their goals of achieving genuinely sustainable products that are considerate towards the environment and society. This paper aims to understand the problem of responsible sourcing from the point of view of the mining and the metallurgical industry. The study helps identify areas of improvement for this global industry to minimize conflict originating from natural resource development and achieve the noble goal of being certified as Conflict Free. Further, existing paths to accreditation are classified into three categories: Certification Approaches, Analytical Approaches, and Inscription Approaches. A compar-ison of the approaches is given on parameters like accuracy, cost of implementation, and difficulty of imple-mentation. The study finds that although Analytical Approaches appear to be the most feasible among all the other approaches, their extremely high cost of implementation has prevented their wide adoption, thus perpetuating the difficulty of systematically managing the problem of conflict minerals at scale. Finally, the use of Blockchain Technology (BCT) to overcome the limitations of current mineral traceability schemes is given. Due to limited academic research on this topic, the focus was diverted to how other industries have utilized BCT and proposed the next steps for mineral researchers.