Samsung Comes Clean About Blood Metal
The world’s best-selling smartphone manufacturer has acknowledged using tin sourced from Indonesia’s controversial Bangka Island, where an investigation last year found that unregulated mining employs child laborers and kills an estimated 150 miners every year while destroying the local environment.
The disclosure was prompted by intense pressure from the environmental charity Friends of the Earth and 15,000 of the company’s concerned customers. The informal lobby contacted Samsung, demanding that the company investigate the source of its tin.
In an email sent to the charity and its customers, Samsung said: “While we do not have a direct relationship with tin suppliers from Bangka Island, we do know that some of the tin that we use for manufacturing our products does originate from this area.”
It continued: “We are also undertaking a thorough investigation of our supply chain in the region to better understand what is happening, and what part we play.”
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Bangka and its sister island Belitung together produce 90% of Indonesia’s tin, which is used primarily as solder in consumer electronics for products like smartphones, tablets and mobiles. Around 2g of tin goes into every mobile phone, and roughly 60% of Bangka-Belitung’s 1.3 million inhabitants are involved in tin mining and its related industries.
[A] Guardian investigation into mining on Bangka in November last year helped generate support for FoE’s Make It Better campaign, which has been calling on both Samsung and Apple to publicly declare whether they use Bangka tin in their electronics, and to back new rules to make all companies fully transparent about their supply chains, starting with a Europe-wide law next year.