The State Department has issued a document providing guidance to commercial entities concerning the conflict mineral requirements included in the financial reform legislation enacted last summer. While this guidance may be revised once final regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission are issued later this year, State believes is it “critical” for companies to “begin now to perform meaningful due diligence.”
Conflict minerals include columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite and their derivatives, which are used in the manufacture of a wide range of goods such as cell phones, computers and video game systems, medical equipment, high-speed tools, machine parts, glass and lamps.
Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, certain persons who use these minerals must disclose to the SEC whether those minerals originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country, where their mining and sale has helped finance an ongoing civil war and related human rights violations. Proposed SEC regulations intended to implement this requirement were issued in December 2010 and include provisions on those required to report, determining and disclosing the origin of conflict minerals, the content of conflict minerals reports, and the use of recycled or scrap sources. Read more here.