Apple investigating claims that it uses tin from illegal mines

Apple has just updated its Supplier Responsibility page to say that it is performing a “fact-finding visit” to Bangka Island, Indonesia to investigate whether or not its suppliers are sourcing tin from illegal mines (via The Verge). In an effort to “better understand the situation,” the company says that it has funded a new environmental task force to send to the area.

Bangka Island, Indonesia, is one of the world’s principal tin-producing regions. Recent concerns about the illegal mining of tin from this region prompted Apple to lead a fact-finding visit to learn more. Using the information we’ve gathered, Apple initiated an EICC working group focused on this issue, and we are helping to fund a new study on mining in the region so we can better understand the situation.

Apple currently has 249 suppliers using tin in components of its products, more than any other metal. Samsung has already admitted to using tin from Bangka Island, saying that some of the tin for its products “originates from the area,” but it’s not directly sourcing it.

Friends of the Earth has been calling for Apple to come clean on whether or not it uses tin from the Bangka area for a long time, amassing over 24,000 signatures on its campaign. The activists say that the tin has been “linked to the destruction of tropical forests, coral reefs and fishermen’s livelihoods.”