By Melissa Pistilli—Exclusive to Tantalum Investing NewsThe worldwide push for the electronics industry to take a more active role in ensuring a conflict mineral-free raw materials supply chain has encouraged the International Tin Research Industry (ITRI) to develop an initiative to combat the problem. Last week, ITRI announced that it, along with some of the biggest players in the industry, was moving forward to Phase II of its Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), which the organization first announced last year. The goal of the iTSCi is to provide more transparency and accountability concerning the supply of raw materials coming from the bloody conflict zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Phase II involves “developing and implementing a system to ensure mineral traceability from exporter back to the mine site and to develop chain of custody data.” Big names in the electronics industry, including Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola Foundation, Nokia, Philips, Sony, and Xerox, have signed on as financial contributors. While the iTSCi mainly focuses on tin, the tantalum industry has also taken interest in the initiative and is supplying funding. The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center made a financial contribution in exchange for the inclusion of columbo-tantalite in the project, “with potential additional funding from its members in the form of a buyer levy being planned.” The six-month iTSCi pilot project involves a due diligence study that will assess the viability of a tracking system by selecting a number of cassiterite and columbo-tantalite mines sites in North and South Kivu, the provinces most affected by the violence in the Congo. The goal is to trace the origin of minerals and to ensure that those entering the supply chain are not sourced from militia-controlled mines.