Nokia is the newest member of S.C.-based components and interconnect provider AVX Corporation’s "Solutions for Hope" initiative that enables validated conflict-free tantalum from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to be used in AVX, Nokia and other participating companies’ products.

“The Solutions for Hope initiative was developed in collaboration with other defined suppliers to create a ‘closed pipe’ secure supply chain, delivering from in-region traceable materials through independently assessed transport routes to a validated conflict-free smelter onto AVX and its customers,” the company says.

“Nokia already has a comprehensive program to strive for conflict-free sourcing and it is one of the corner stones of our supply chain sustainability efforts. We are very happy to be joining the Solutions for Hope Initiative, which complements our efforts in this area. It enables us to support sourcing from Democratic Republic of Congo while ensuring that the raw materials that are used in our products do not contribute to the conflict in the region,” said Jarkko Sakki, Vice President of Sourcing at Nokia.

As of December 1, 2011, all AVX tantalum powder and wire suppliers are fully compliant with the independently audited Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFS). The first shipment of conflict-free tantalum powder has been processed at the F&X Smelter in China and is en route to AVX, and the second shipment is in transit from the MMR warehouse in Kalemie, DRC, to the F&X Smelter.

Explains Bill Millman, Tantalum Divisional Director of Quality and Technology at AVX, “In accordance with the principles of the Dodd-Frank legislation and current OECD guidelines, U.S. companies will soon be required to fully disclose the use of certain minerals, including tantalum, in their products and to describe the purchasing process to ensure these minerals do not fund the illegally-armed groups operating in the DRC.”

He continues, “Because there currently is no recognized system to verify that the sources of minerals from the DRC are conflict-free, efforts to secure supply chains have led to a de facto embargo of minerals from the region while such systems are being developed. Tens of thousands of people in the DRC depend on artisanal mining, many operating in regions where conflict is not present. Their livelihoods and the economic stability of the region have been threatened by the de facto ban. The Solutions for Hope project creates an initial flow of tantalum that will help enable miners to work and conflict-free systems to be developed in the DRC.”

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