Smelters are organizations that purchase raw materials from mines, recyclers and scrap suppliers and melt them down to produce metals intended for use in production. Manufacturers that use tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold (3TGs) at some point within their supply chain must purchase metals from a smelter.
Smelters are considered a pinch point in the conflict minerals supply chain. Ore and recycled metals go through smelters or refiners before becoming commercially viable 3TGs. This makes smelters a fitting audit-point to determine the source of 3TGs. However, because smelters purchase raw ores and recycled materials from many different locations, once the metals have been smelted, it becomes near impossible to accurately trace their sources.