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Apple is ignoring Congo's accusations over conflict materials, say lawyers

Apple has been asked to verify that it doesn't use "conflict minerals" in the iPhone

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Lawyers for the Congo government say that Apple has not responded to its requests over the use of conflict minerals in the iPhone and other devices — and that it has new evidence against the company.

In April 2024, lawyers representing the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wrote to Tim Cook asking for proof that the company is not using minerals mined from areas that profit militant groups. Apple has previously stated that it does not, but the lawyers said that its claims were inadequate.

The law firm Amsterdam & Partners gave Apple three weeks to respond. But according to Reuters, four weeks after the letter, the lawyers are saying that Apple has "has remained silent and neither answered nor even acknowledged receipt of the questions."

Chief lawyer Robert Amsterdam reportedly said that the DRC now has further reason to press Apple for details.

"We have received new evidence from whistleblowers," he said. "It is more urgent than ever that Apple provide real answers to the very serious questions we have raised."

There are no details of what the new evidence is. Also, at time of writing, Amsterdam & Partners has not published a statement on its website or social media accounts.

However, AppleInsider has now seen the complete statement. It says that Apple's silence is an admission of guilt, or at least of embarrassment over the issue.

The statement further says that the DRC has instructed the lawyers to investigate legal options against Apple, under American and French laws. The original letter to Tim Cook was copied to Apple's subsidiary in France.

Apple has not commented on the latest statement. However, it has previously claimed to have ceased working with suppliers who were flouting the rules over the sourcing of tin, tungsten, and tantalum from such regions.

Update May 22, 08:00 Eastern: Updated with details of the Amsterdam & Partners statement sent to AppleInsider.