IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

International mineral trade on the background of due diligence regulation: A case study of tantalum and tin supply chains from East and Central Africa


  • Schütte, Philip


Over the past eight years, due diligence has become an increasingly important component of supply chain management for “conflict minerals” such as tantalum and tin. The due diligence concept has been incorporated into regulatory requirements and industry standards as far as mineral sourcing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the wider East-Central African Great Lakes region is concerned. The present study investigates how this development is reflected in the trade data of tantalum and tin ore concentrates sourced from the region. The analysis is based on international import data reported by smelter countries covering the 2006–2017 period and calibrated against a supply chain framework of regionally aggregated tantalum and tin producer and transit countries. International imports of tantalum and tin ore concentrates from the Great Lakes region show correlated trends for both commodities comprising a pre-regulatory period from 2006 to 2009, a transitional period of initial due diligence implementation from 2010 to 2012, and an on-going period of streamlined due diligence implementation starting in 2013. Tantalum and tin import reductions in 2010–2011 correlate in time with publication of the conflict mineral section of the Dodd-Frank act in the United States, a temporary ban of artisanal and small-scale mining in the DRC and a de facto embargo established by a number of international mineral buyers. Following a two-year transitional period, international tantalum and tin ore concentrate imports from the region progressively recover towards and beyond pre-Dodd-Frank act levels. The market structure of smelter countries sourcing tantalum from the region changes from a China-dominated monopsonistic situation prevailing from 2006 to 2012 towards a less concentrated international market in 2013–2017. This development correlates with the region's increasing world market share in tantalum mine production. In contrast, tin supply chains reflect an oligopsonistic market that does not change systematically through time. While aggregated international import and regional export data for tantalum and tin ore concentrates used to show strong discrepancies in the past, these data are in good agreement from 2013 onward. Mineral origin declarations show progressively increasing geological and logistical plausibility likely reflecting a reduction of intra-regional smuggling and more accurate chain of custody documentation. As such, international mineral trade data become more consistent with on-going implementation of due diligence.

Suggested Citation

  • Schütte, Philip, 2019. "International mineral trade on the background of due diligence regulation: A case study of tantalum and tin supply chains from East and Central Africa," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 674-689.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:62:y:2019:i:c:p:674-689
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2018.11.017

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kim, Taek Joo & Wear, David N. & Coulston, John & Li, Ruhong, 2018. "Forest land use responses to wood product markets," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 45-52.
    2. Dominic P. Parker & Bryan Vadheim, 2017. "Resource Cursed or Policy Cursed? US Regulation of Conflict Minerals and Violence in the Congo," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-49.
    3. Richard D., 2018. "Democracy and the (Ir)responsibility of Economics," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 220-223, April.
    4. Koch, Dirk-Jan & Kinsbergen, Sara, 2018. "Exaggerating unintended effects? Competing narratives on the impact of conflict minerals regulation," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 255-263.
    5. Oecd, 2018. "List of correspondents to the Nuclear Law Bulletin," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2016(2), pages 101-103.
    6. Diemel, J.A. & Cuvelier, J., 2015. "Explaining the uneven distribution of conflict-mineral policy implementation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The role of the Katanga policy network (2009–2011)," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P2), pages 151-160.
    7. Bleischwitz, Raimund & Dittrich, Monika & Pierdicca, Chiara, 2012. "Coltan from Central Africa, international trade and implications for any certification," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 19-29.
    8. Luis A. Tercero Espinoza & Marcel Soulier, 2016. "An examination of copper contained in international trade flows," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 29(2), pages 47-56, December.
    9. Oecd, 2018. "List of Correspondents to the Nuclear Law Bulletin," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2017(1), pages 117-119.
    10. Oecd, 2018. "List of correspondents to the Nuclear Law Bulletin," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2018(1), pages 145-148.
    11. UNCTAD & World Bank, 2018. "Introduction to Responsible Agricultural Investment," World Bank Publications - Reports 29463, The World Bank Group.
    12. Dominic P. Parker & Jeremy D. Foltz & David Elsea, 2016. "Unintended Consequences of Sanctions for Human Rights: Conflict Minerals and Infant Mortality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 731-774.
    13. Siegel, Shefa & Veiga, Marcello M., 2009. "Artisanal and small-scale mining as an extralegal economy: De Soto and the redefinition of "formalization"," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 51-56.
    14. Bach, Vanessa & Finogenova, Natalia & Berger, Markus & Winter, Lisa & Finkbeiner, Matthias, 2017. "Enhancing the assessment of critical resource use at the country level with the SCARCE method – Case study of Germany," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 283-299.
    15. Hatayama, Hiroki & Tahara, Kiyotaka, 2018. "Adopting an objective approach to criticality assessment: Learning from the past," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 96-102.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hache, Emmanuel & Seck, Gondia Sokhna & Simoen, Marine & Bonnet, Clément & Carcanague, Samuel, 2019. "Critical raw materials and transportation sector electrification: A detailed bottom-up analysis in world transport," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 240(C), pages 6-25.
    2. Arendt, Rosalie & Muhl, Marco & Bach, Vanessa & Finkbeiner, Matthias, 2020. "Criticality assessment of abiotic resource use for Europe– application of the SCARCE method," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    3. Bloem, Jeffrey, 2018. "Good Intentions Gone Bad? The Dodd-Frank Act and Conflict in Africa's Great Lakes Region," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274254, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Griffin, Gillian & Gaustad, Gabrielle & Badami, Kedar, 2019. "A framework for firm-level critical material supply management and mitigation," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 262-276.
    5. Tschakert, Petra, 2016. "Shifting Discourses of Vilification and the Taming of Unruly Mining Landscapes in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 123-132.
    6. Zauresh Atakhanova & Peter Howie, 2020. "Metal intensity of use in the era of global value chains," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 33(1), pages 101-113, July.
    7. Stoop, Nik & Verpoorten, Marijke & van der Windt, Peter, 2019. "Artisanal or industrial conflict minerals? Evidence from Eastern Congo," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 660-674.
    8. Baffour-Kyei, Vasco & Mensah, Amos & Owusu, Victor & Horlu, Godwin S.A.K., 2021. "Artisanal small-scale mining and livelihood assets in rural southern Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    9. Yang Liu & Muhammad Khalid Anser & Khalid Zaman, 2021. "Ecofeminism and Natural Resource Management: Justice Delayed, Justice Denied," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(13), pages 1-21, June.
    10. Maleke Fourati & Victoire Girard & Jeremy Laurent-Lucchetti, 2021. "Sexual violence as a weapon of war," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2103, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    11. Salas-Urviola, Fernando B. & Calsina-Paricahua, Lesmes G. & Vilca-Salas, Ayde C., 2021. "Analysis of the formalization process of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM): Case region Puno-Peru," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    12. Bazillier, Remi & Girard, Victoire, 2020. "The gold digger and the machine. Evidence on the distributive effect of the artisanal and industrial gold rushes in Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    13. Julika Herzberg & Oliver Lorz, 2020. "Sourcing from conflict regions: Policies to improve transparency in international supply chains," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 395-407, May.
    14. Schnebele, Emily & Jaiswal, Kishor & Luco, Nicolas & Nassar, Nedal T., 2019. "Natural hazards and mineral commodity supply: Quantifying risk of earthquake disruption to South American copper supply," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-1.
    15. Juliana Segura-Salazar & Luís Marcelo Tavares, 2018. "Sustainability in the Minerals Industry: Seeking a Consensus on Its Meaning," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(5), pages 1-38, May.
    16. Jeffrey R. Bloem, 2019. "Good Intentions Gone Bad? The Dodd-Frank Act and Conflict in Africa’s Great Lakes Region," HiCN Working Papers 300, Households in Conflict Network.
    17. Matata Ponyo Mapon & Jean-Paul K. Tsasa, 2019. "The artefact of the Natural Resources Curse," Papers 1911.09681,
    18. Katharina Hombach & Thorsten Sellhorn, 2019. "Shaping Corporate Actions Through Targeted Transparency Regulation: A Framework and Review of Extant Evidence," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 71(2), pages 137-168, May.
    19. Benjamin Rubbers, 2020. "Mining Boom, Labour Market Segmentation and Social Inequality in the Congolese Copperbelt," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 51(6), pages 1555-1578, November.
    20. Sinha, Avik & Sengupta, Tuhin, 2019. "Impact of natural resource rents on human development: What is the role of globalization in Asia Pacific countries?," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-1.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:62:y:2019:i:c:p:674-689. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.