WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Companies that filed disclosures used one or more of the four "conflict minerals"- tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold — that Secretary of State John Kerry has determined to be financing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries, the GAO said.
"[C]ompany disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the first time in 2014 indicated that most companies were unable to determine the source of their conflict minerals."
Almost two thirds of the companies, or 67 percent, "were unable to determine whether those minerals came from the DRC or adjoining countries (Covered Countries), and none could determine whether the minerals financed or benefited armed groups in those countries," the report stated.
Most of the companies providing the formal disclosures, or 878 percent, were based in the United States and almost all of them reported performing country-of-origin inquiries for the minerals they purchased, the GAO noted.
However, "Companies GAO spoke to cited difficulty obtaining necessary information from suppliers because of delays and other challenges in communication," the report also said.
The adjoining countries according to the State Department regulation include: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, DRC, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, the GAO added.
"Implementation of the US conflict minerals strategy faces multiple obstacles outside the control of the US government."
Armed groups in eastern DRC continue to commit severe human rights abuses and profit from the exploitation of minerals, according to the United Nations, the GAO added.