Comments so far seem to echo Congress' thinking, that you should be able to certify where your parts come from.
However, this law is a lot harder to comply with that it may seem. Minerals are mined in conflict-riven places, smuggled across the border and sold in huge quantities, and lose their 'conflict' status.
Even if there is no smuggling, imagine a company like Apple trying to comply on a single model of iPad. The iPad is built by a company in China, which is sourcing components from another company in China; that company is sourcing refined materials from a chemical company in China--or is it Germany at this point?--and the raw materials came from where? How many points are in this graph?
The law does not say that each company must get certifications from its tier-1 suppliers. The law says that each company must certify that no minerals used are from conflict countries. Apple needs paperwork to demonstrate where the tantalum in every tantalum capacitor in the iPad comes from.
This means Apple needs auditors at their suppliers' suppliers' suppliers. How many people would that take?
I've used Apple as an example. The law applies to all US publicly traded companies. Smaller firms have zero chance of complying, as they will not have the leverage to force their suppliers to help them comply. And smaller companies will have even less chance of getting this done with their suppliers' suppliers, etc.
I don't argue that this isn't a worthy idea. But the details aren't sustainable in the current environment.
That is both disgusting and despicable. How can 90% of companies be closing their eyes to this? I'm betting those same companies have plenty of "social responsibility" programs in place to make themselves feel good, and I'm sure their HR departments constantly harangue employees about the importance of volunteering their time to good local causes. But give a crap about foreign people dying in mines for your products?? Naaaaaah!
Don't agree that 19 months isn't enough time. The SEC created a 2 year phase-in period that helps companies. Good webinar on subject: http://www.element14.com/community/videos/7165/l/conflict-minerals-what-is-it-and-how-to-comply.