The EU has tabled a framework on conflict minerals, bringing it another step closer to becoming mandatory in Europe.
The trade of conflict minerals are considered a major financial contributor to warlords, criminals and armed groups across the world, and the proposals look to place responsibilities on the importers of raw and refined minerals to carry out increased due diligence and reporting, ultimately to encourage responsible sourcing. The regulation will help to prevent profits from trading minerals being used to fund armed conflicts.
The minerals in question are often referred to as the ‘3TGs’ which means minerals extracted as wolframite (for tungsten), casserite (for tin), coltan (for tantalum) and gold. These type of minerals are used in many components for the latest electronic and consumer products we find in our homes today.
According to the European Commission, the tabled regulation sets out clear, mandatory due diligence obligations on large importers of raw materials (for smelting and refining in the EU). This focuses on up-stream companies, however the down-steam companies using refined minerals will carry the reporting requirements and standards too, promoting responsible sourcing throughout the supply chain, contributing to a transparent database.
We expect to see European Parliament final adoption in the coming months, so expect more detailed news to follow soon. Political understanding is essential to achieve regulatory implementation – the key EU institutions are supporting the policy and can now work on the detail of implementation. Regulation is expected to come into effect in mid-to-late 2017.
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