All of our Niobium is ethically sourced. The wire comes through China as there are no US suppliers making Niobium wire anymore. The sheet comes from either China or the US.
Thanks for your reply!
Do you know the rest of the supply chain? I'm concerned about the effect that digging up the large amount of ore has on the environment and also the welfare of the miners. I'm trying to make an ethics statement for my products that use your niobium but have no way of tracing it back to the mining source. I have been using your niobium sheet. I know it's a very difficult topic but starting a conversation is the first step.
The mill and the melt source supplier are not the same company, so we are unable to verify any further than the mills responses to us that they are using an ethical source system. They have all confirmed they are. I hope this helps.
Personally, I wouldn't be able to morally ensure my clients the niobium I use is ethical without knowing it for certain. Anyone can make a blanket statement like that- it does not reassure me that your suppliers are ethical. Is there any more proof you could show me your suppliers are ethical or if they are not giving you proof, you should pressure your suppliers into giving you this information. I feel this is your responsibility as a retailer.
I'm going to respond to you directly through email.
I was following this conversation because I had the same question as Alice, but it gets cut off. All suppliers with these claims have no problem answering questions to validate them. If your supplier is legit, it shouldn't have a problem providing detailed information about the sources of the metals. Blank statements like ethically sourced are not valid. Even suppliers with a certificate from the Responsible Jewelry Council have no problem providing the origin of their metals. Did you get the information from your supplier? Can you tell us the source of the metal and how it's ethical?
As we've mentioned above, our Niobium wire products initially come from China and our sheet products from the US and China. All of our mills have verified to us that they are ethically sourced materials. If you would like discuss this further, we would be happy to do so via email. Please contact us via the contact form.
Is your supplier a member of TIC (Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center)? It would be easy for you guys to become a member if they are. Better yet, you could receive a certification from the Responsible Jewelry Council as well.
My concern is that Coltan industry has very little transparency and a lot of violence associated with it. There are forced child labor, environmentally hazardous mining processes, and cartels related to it.
Belgium (TIC) and Germany are working hard to change this. The Germans created an X-ray analysis to determine the metal's provenance and ensure it is not coming from conflict zones or mines. Still, China was one of the countries that have made it difficult to obtain samples from their Coltan mines.
Some countries like the US have passed legislations prohibiting conflict metals. Still, since China processes 60% of it and has no legislation about using conflict Coltan, avoiding its use in the US is complicated.
My concern is that your supplier is Chinese, and there is no mention of TIC or any certification on your site. Most members of TIC or the Responsible Jewelry council mention on their site because it indicates that they have verified their supply chain all the way to mine.
TIC has successfully removed conflict minerals and promote transparency in the supply chain of Coltan. They also have NGOs that monitor mines in conflict and high-risk areas. It is not a perfect world, but obtaining a supplier associated with them would clear many issues from our supply chain.
In an effort to determine where your specific metal you purchased from us came from and ensure your needs for verification, can you give us the lot number or an invoice number for the Niobium you purchased from us please? You can also send this information through our contact form if you wish.