OEMs are advised to review their supply chains in an effort to stop the procurement of tin from Bangka Island, Indonesia.
Recent research suggests that dangerous tin mining practices have caused deaths and environmental devastation on the Indonesian island. A report recently published by Friends of the Earth, ‘Mining for Smartphones: the true cost of tin’, documents a six-month investigation and reveals the little-known environmental impact and social costs behind the mining of tin in Indonesia.
The report notes it’s key findings as:
Dangerous and unregulated tin mining. Police figures show that in 2011, an average of one miner a week died in an accident. Reports of child labour in the unofficial mines are common.
Coral and sea life is being threatened. Silt from tin mining is killing coral reefs and seagrass eaten by turtles, driving away fish and ruining fishermen’s livelihoods.
Farmland and forests are being destroyed. Farmers struggle to grow crops in the soil left acidic after the destruction of forests for tin mining.
Tin is used in the solder to connect components in mobile phones, tablets and other computer products. The report states that tin mined in Bangka Island has been found in some of the biggest selling smartphone brands.
Several large smartphone manufacturers have publicly addressed the issue and have evidenced their awareness, and in some cases, intentions to avoid it.
To read extracts from their statements and this article in full, please visit the EBN website.