EU Conflict Minerals Proposal Delayed

A September 15 article on Euractiv.com highlights a delay of the EU Commission proposal on conflict minerals legislation. According to the article, the accompanying impact assessment will not be finished before the end of the year, delaying the proposal of a regulation until February or March.

At IPC’s October conference on conflict minerals in Brussels, lead DG Trade regulator Signe Ratso confirmed that the Commission intends to align with the OECD Conflict Minerals Due Diligence Guidelines which were strongly supported by comments provided during the stakeholder consultation conducted earlier this year. Ms. Ratso also said that the covered minerals/metals would be limited to tin, tantalum, tungsten (3Ts) and Gold, as that is the current scope of the OECD guidelines. Ms. Ratso stated that other minerals could be included if the OECD were to add additional minerals to their scope. Ms. Ratso also confirmed that the Commission’s proposal would not be like U.S. Dodd-Frank Section 1502 and that it would have a global scope. She also stated that the EU regulations would focus on upstream actors, but she did not provide details as to how this might work.

Follow-up discussions with DG trade staff focused on the difficulties companies are having in complying with Dodd-Frank. IPC staff emphasized the inherent difficulty in supply chain solutions. Although industry, especially the electronics industry, is making some progress it is quite small and limited to specific minerals, products, and sectors and that most companies are unlikely to be able to trace all of their minerals back to the smelter for the foreseeable future.

Following the proposal of regulations by the Commission, the regulation is expected to be forwarded to the Development and Trade Committees in the EU Parliament. Because of Parliamentary elections in the spring, action by the full Parliament is not expected until fall 2014.

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