Today, at the end of the day in Europe, negotiators from the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission reached a final agreement on the Conflict Minerals Regulation. For the past five months, the Council and the European Parliament have been working together to implement a June political agreement on conflict minerals regulation.
According to a press release from the EU Commission Directorate General of Trade, the regulation will ensure sustainable sourcing for more than 95% of all EU imports of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which will be covered by due diligence provisions as of 1 January 2021.
A blog entry by EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström states that, “the agreed framework sets out clear, mandatory due diligence obligations for the critical so-called “upstream” part of the mineral supply chain, which includes those who import raw materials to smelting and refinery plants in the EU.” Downstream operators who import refined, metal-stage products into the EU will also be covered by mandatory obligations.
The blog also mentions the development of reporting tools and standards to further boost due diligence in the supply chain, as well as setting up a transparency database. Through a review clause, there is also the possibility for the Commission to propose further mandatory obligations for the downstream supply chain if deemed necessary.
In the coming months and years, the Commission and Member States will work to make sure that the necessary structures are in place to ensure EU-wide implementation. Accompanying measures to provide support for importers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, are also planned. Additionally, there will be a range of development aid and foreign policy actions to ensure the effectiveness of the regulation, and its positive impact on the ground. The agree regulation will now have to be formally adopted by the full European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
We expect to have additional details within the next few days.