Apple Investigating Illegal Tin Mining Accusations

| News

Following concerns that some of the tin used in its products may be coming from illegal mining operations in Indonesia, Apple has launched an investigation into the accusations and is working with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition to ensure miners are operating in safe working conditions.

Apple investigating working conditions at Indonesia tin minesApple investigating working conditions at Indonesia tin mines

Apple updated its Supplier Responsibility web page to state,

Bangka Island, Indonesia, is one of the world's principal tin-producing regions. Recent concerns about the illegal mining of tin from this region prompted Apple to lead a fact-finding visit to learn more. Using the information we've gathered, Apple initiated an EICC working group focused on this issue, and we are helping to fund a new study on mining in the region so we can better understand the situation.

Indonesia's tin mines have a reputation for unsafe working conditions and exploiting child labor. Laws are in place to prevent that, but in some cases mining operations choose to operate outside of the government's safety regulations.

Apple has already committed to using environmentally friendly methods for collecting the resources it needs to build Macs, iPhone, iPads, and other products, and has been actively working with its supplier partners to ensure safe working conditions, too. Its tin mining investigation is new, so there isn't any word yet on findings, but if Apple's previous efforts are any indication, it's a safe bet that it'll actively push for changes if any safety, environmental, health, or age issues are uncovered.

[Some image elements courtesy Shutterstock]

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Environmental and worker safety issues are ongoing problems for Apple as well as any other company dealing with the raw materials it needs to make the electronic devices we use every day. Considering the tin mining history in Indonesia, there's a good chance Apple's investigation will uncover health and safety violations. Hopefully Apple will be able to help improve working conditions for the miners, and that will carry over to other companies that rely on the same raw materials.

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Of course, we have to realize that all these improvements _will_ cost us, the customers, money. And if Apple is the only company to actually do anything about it, are their customers willing to put up with price increases? Of course, I suspect that if Apple takes the lead, that others will be forced to follow suit. That is the preferred outcome.


Why would it cost money? Do you think companies that act illegally to make more profit pass the savings on to their customers (in this case Apple)? Anyway, here’s what will happen: Apple will sort this out with their tin suppliers, everyone else will make big promises to do the same, then Greenpeace will mark Apple down because they are the only ones not making promises to act.


Maybe we should start letting other countries worry about what goes on within the limits of their own boarders. We only need to get involved when something or someone is getting in the way the flow or resources we need.
We’re not stealing these resources; we’re buying them. If any given country isn’t worried about how companies operate within their borders, that’s their business. We only need to operate within the limits of their laws until the product leaves their borders.
There are more then enough things to worry about (for us), right here in this country. People that spend their time worrying about how other countries do things within their own borders, need to back off.

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