By Michelle Smith-Exclusive to Tantalum Investing News The issue that minerals, such as tantalum, from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being used to support violent acts and violent groups is clear. The problem, which is being largely addressed by barring these conflict minerals from the supply chain, thereby eliminating the flow of revenue to malicious recipients, is now a major focus in the industry. But, it is an initiative that has had unintended effects, some of which may remain to be seen. Addressing armed conflict in the marketplace, as it turns out, is not as clear-cut as first believed. The US' Dodd-Frank Act requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to address the issue of conflict minerals. The SEC is still trying to comply but is under pressure since the outcome is expected to have global effects. The SEC has already proposed rules requiring companies to disclose whether they use tantalum from the DRC or surrounding countries, and if so, to outline the measures taken to ensure proceeds do not support conflict. In February, the US Chamber of Commerce wrote to the SEC expressing concerns about the impact its proposed rules would have on the economic and living standards in Africa. Private investment, which was highlighted as an economic driver in the region, are at risk of facing a “chilling effect” the Chamber warned. Despite the absence of the final rules, this chilling effect has already materialized, from what some may consider an industry imposed embargo. Tantalum consumers are now largely shunning materials from the DRC. Focused on preventing tarnish on their company brands and supporting what appears to be a noble cause, few seemed to consider that turning their backs on the DRC not only closed the pipeline of revenue to militias, but also to artisinal miners who rely on the mineral trade for survival. As a result, massive numbers of people have suddenly found themselves unemployed.