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T.I.C. publishes an open letter to the Wall Street Journal defending Dodd-Frank Section 1502

9 December 2020

In reply to an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal on October 27th titled "Dodd-Frank Undermines the Fight Against Covid", T.I.C. President, Dr Daniel Persico, wrote the following reply:

The Wall Street Journal,
Attention: the Editor.
November 9th 2020

To the Editor,

In response to your October 27 article titled “Dodd-Frank Undermines the Fight Against Covid”, I find it unfortunate that Mr. Belau and Mr. Carter did not dig deep enough to get the real story on tantalum, especially as it relates to pricing and availability.

Dodd-Frank has not caused an increase in the price of tantalum ore. Historically, we have seen significant swings in the pricing of tantalum ore based on the actions of a few intermediate players in the supply chain who at times hoarded inventory, the consequence being artificial spikes in pricing. The impact of Dodd-Frank was to eliminate a significant number of these players through the efforts of a few key downstream players developing conflict free supply chains from the mine through to the finished product. The result has been a significant stability in pricing since that time. Unfortunately, the only pricing information that gets into the press is spot pricing which does not reflect reality. The truth is that the majority of tantalum raw materials are under private contract, the terms of which are confidential. The very positive impact of Dodd-Frank, combined with the realignment of the supply chain and the volume of product under private contract has in fact stabilized the supply chain, guaranteed sourcing from and employment in the DRC and surrounding countries, as well as stabilized prices on the ground and to the market. This certainly contradicts the information reported in your article which seems more about unsubstantiated rhetoric and sensationalism than the reality of the situation. Throughout the pandemic, at least in the case of tantalum, there has been no shortage of tantalum capacitors for ventilators or other necessary medical equipment. In fact, manufacturers have gone out of their way to re-route capacitor supplies to these critical applications in this time of need.

The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.) supports Dodd-Frank and the very positive impacts it has had on employment and security in the DRC and surrounding countries. No, it is not a panacea, but it was and remains a major step in the right direction without which there certainly would have been a mass migration of companies doing business in and through the DRC out of the region. And while the cost of implementation may cause hand-wringing in some circles, I dare say most see it as the cost of doing business in an ethical and responsible manner, the result being countless lives saved and a stabilization of employment for the artisanal miners.

Sincerely,

Daniel F. Persico, Ph.D.
President, Tantalum-Niobium international Study Center (T.I.C.)

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