U.S. chip maker Intel Corp said its processors are free of so-called "conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The announcement, the first of its kind from a U.S. technology firm, came from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in his keynote speech to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday.
"Two years ago, I told several colleagues that we needed a hard goal, a commitment to reasonably conclude that the metals used in our microprocessors are conflict-free," Krzanich said. "We felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to ensure that our business and our products were not inadvertently funding human atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Even though we have reached this milestone, it is just a start. We will continue our audits and resolve issues that are found."
The strife-ridden area of eastern Congo is rich with minerals crucial to the making of many electronics products. These include gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten.
Over the past two decades, militant groups, rebels and various ethnic groups have been waging a bloody conflict fueled by money from "conflict minerals."
While Intel's announcement is a first, other companies will soon have to disclose any "conflict minerals" present in their supply chains as stated in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which aims to make transparent various companies' financial interests in the DRC. The disclosures must be made by the end of May of this year.