DRC Considers Legal Action Against Apple Over Fresh Conflict Mineral Findings


Lawyers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have announced the discovery of new evidence, following a month after they accused Apple of using “illegally exploited” minerals from the conflict-ridden east of the country in its products. Amsterdam & Partners LLP revealed that several whistleblowers have come forward, joining those who previously provided information about Apple’s supply chain in the region. A recent statement from the legal representative stated, “In recent weeks, since the release of Amsterdam & Partners’ Blood Minerals report, we have received new evidence from whistleblowers. As we consider our legal options, it is more important than ever that Apple provide real answers to the serious questions we have raised.”

With this development, the lawyers have confirmed that the DRC has directed them to determine, over the next few weeks and months, the legal actions to be taken under US and French law based on the gathered evidence to establish Apple’s responsibility for the alleged acts.

On April 25, 2024, Amsterdam & Partners LLP confirmed that they had demanded that Apple’s French subsidiaries and the US parent company respond to a series of detailed questions about whether their supply chain is tainted by blood minerals pillaged from the DRC.

In their new statement, they reported that Apple has remained silent, neither responding to nor acknowledging receipt of the questions.

Apple’s silence, at the very least, highlights the company’s discomfort in offering precise answers beyond the banal and predictable denials previously issued by their spokespersons four weeks ago,” stated the DRC lawyers.

In a report, Apple stated, “Based on our due diligence efforts… we found no reasonable basis for concluding that any of the smelters or refiners of 3TG (tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold) determined to be in our supply chain as of December 31, 2023, directly or indirectly financed or benefited armed groups in the DRC or an adjoining country.”

Additionally, the report titled “Blood Minerals: The Laundering of DRC’s 3T Minerals by Rwanda and Private Entities” accused Rwanda of being a source for big tech firms’ products. Despite having a lower production scale than the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda was implicated in laundering 3T minerals and other conflict minerals from Congo.

Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo rejected the accusations, describing them as a “rehashing of baseless allegations and conjecture, attempting to capitalize on media interest in one of the world’s largest companies.”

She further stated that the claims were merely a ruse by the DRC government, which consistently tries to divert attention away from Rwanda by making false accusations.



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