In July of 2011 the Solutions for Hope Project was announced by Motorola Solutions Inc., a leading manufacturer of mission critical public safety and enterprise wide communications equipment and AVX Corporation, a leading tantalum capacitor manufacture. The ‘Solutions for Hope Project’ was launched as a pilot initiative to source conflict-free tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Tantalum is a metal used in capacitors for electronic products and is derived from the mineral coltan, which is in rich supply in the DRC.
Section 1502 of the US Dodd-Frank Act requires that companies publicly traded in the U.S. disclose the use of certain metals, including tantalum, in their products and describe the process used to ensure that the purchase of these minerals does not fund the illegally armed groups operating in the DRC. Some have raised concerns that without a recognized industry standard for verification of mineral sourcing, there is the potential for a de facto embargo of minerals from the region. Thousands of people in the DRC, many operating outside of the conflict regions, depend on artisanal mining of coltan and other minerals. Through the Solutions for Hope Project, Motorola Solutions, AVX, and other stakeholders have created and are testing a program of responsible sourcing of coltan from the DRC to promote economic stability of the area.
The Solutions for Hope Project’s unique approach to mineral sourcing in the region utilizes a closed-pipe supply line and a defined set of key suppliers – mines (including artisanal cooperatives), smelter/processor, component manufacturer and end user – identified in advance of initiating the project.
The Project is open for all companies including mining, smelters, component manufactures and product manufacturers (end-users) to join, and its success will be largely measured by the industry participation in the closed-pipe supply system. Currently, such leading technology companies as Foxconn, HP, Intel, Motorola Solutions, Nokia, and Research In Motion participate in the Solutions for Hope Project.