February 22, 2013 – March 1, 2013
The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Sanders (US) LLP and should not be deemed to be endorsements of them. The Recap is intended to be a compilation of articles and events to encourage discussion within the conflict minerals community and to keep our readers updated on the most recent developments.

Plantronics – Conflict Minerals Statement

Plantronics, an electronics company producing audio communications equipment for businesses and consumers, recently released its statement on conflict minerals. Excerpts from the statement follow. “Plantronics’ Supplier Code of Conduct requires Plantronics suppliers ensure that parts and products supplied to Plantronics containing tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold, be DRC Conflict-free. In accordance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Reform & Consumer Protection Act, Plantronics is working with its suppliers to conduct due diligence and implement policies and procedures so that Plantronics may make proper and accurate disclosures and to enable Plantronics products to be DRC Conflict-free. Due diligence methods employed by Plantronics and its suppliers are based on those described in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.”

For the complete Plantronics statement, please see Plantronics Conflict Minerals Statement.

Source Intelligence: Average American’s Daily Use of Conflict Minerals

Source 44 released an interesting chart that shows the average American’s daily use of conflict minerals:

Source: Source 44

Spend Matters: Conflict Minerals Compliance and US Steel and Service Centers

Jason Busch, the founder and executive editor of Spend Matters, observes the unique challenges US steel and service centers are facing under the conflict minerals rule. Mr. Busch questions whether US steel and service centers are subject to the conflict minerals rule in the first place. If they are subject to the conflict minerals rule, Mr. Busch questions whether US steel and service centers will be at a competitive disadvantage to their non-US counterparts.

Mr. Busch appears to believe that non-US steel and service centers with substantial sales into the United States will likely provide conflict minerals information to their customers.

To read Mr. Busch’s complete article, please see Conflict Minerals Compliance: Steel and US Service Centers.

U.S. Department of State: Statement Concerning Continued Implementation of Conflict Minerals Due Diligence Pursuant to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act

On February 28, 2013, Robert D. Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, released a statement on implementation of conflict minerals due diligence on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Excerpts from the statement follow. “The Department of State (Department) remains deeply concerned by the destabilizing illicit trade and exploitation of certain minerals from the African Great Lakes Region – namely, gold, [tungsten, tantalum, and tin] – that are identified as “conflict minerals” in Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Section 1502). [T]he Department is to ‘provide guidance to commercial entities seeking to exercise due diligence on and formalize the origin and chain of custody of conflict minerals used in their products and on their suppliers to ensure that conflict minerals used in the products of such suppliers do not directly or indirectly finance armed conflict or result in labor or human rights violations.’ The United States government continues to encourage companies to exercise due diligence based on the guidance issued by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.”

To read the U.S. Department of State’s complete statement, please see Statement Concerning Continued Implementation of Conflict Minerals Due Diligence Pursuant to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

“Legal Mining” in the Congo

Raluca Besliu highlights an initiative, known as the Conflict Free Tin Initiative (CFTI), which “ensures that each mined ore receives a plastic tag with a bar core [sic] that corresponds to a certification document, so that the minerals extracted from it can be exported legally.” As a by-product of this initiative, the price per kilogram of tin has increased to $3.5 per kilogram from $1 per kilogram (the price shortly after the adoption of the conflict minerals rule), although prices are still nowhere near where they were prior to the adoption of the conflict minerals rule – approximately $6.0 per kilogram.

To read more on the CFTI initiative, please see Relaunching Legal Mining in Congo With Conflict-Free Tags?