From mine to mouse: the raw materials supply chain

From the smallest chips in our smartphones to complete household appliances, we are dependent on a complex supply chain. It begins with the extraction of the basic materials such as copper, silicon, crude oil or rare earth metals. The next links in the chain are commodities exchanges, processing and finishing, and intermediate agents. After several more stops along the way, the chain ends with assembly and the final product.

Because the chain is so long and complex, with opaque supply channels, unknown practices of individual traders, and numerous intermediate stages, monitoring can usually only take place in the final links of the chain.