The Wilson Center held an interesting event last week on steps towards the development of a certification process for conflict-free minerals in the DRC, with representatives from an admirably broad variety of interest groups participating in the discussion. (This included representatives of the US and Congolese governments, one of the negotiators of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, an industry CSR type, and researchers from the Enough Project.) Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy & Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats briefly discussed one of the most substantive steps that I’ve yet heard of towards an actual certification process, namely a USG-funded pilot supply chain of certified minerals. A common concern, however, was that these early moves towards reopening clean supply chains aren’t enough to mitigate for the damage done to the industry (and the incomes of its artisanal miners) by the Dodd-Frank act and the mining ban instituted by the Congolese government last fall. According to Tim Monin, the director of CSR at Advanced Micro Devices, the volume of trade has fallen by more than 90% since this time last year. It’s not clear to me what, if anything, is being done to assist displaced miners until trade picks up again (or until they find alternate employment – always a scarce commodity in the Congo).