October 25, 2013 – November 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.
Members of US Congress File Brief in Legal Challenge
This week, several members of Congress signed onto a “friend of the court” brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The members of Congress are siding with the SEC and defending the conflict minerals rule. One of the signatories to the brief, Representative Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), stated, “We understand that implementing these rules is difficult and involves a new way of doing business for big companies. But we felt and continue to feel that those challenges are worth it to protect the human and labor rights of very vulnerable individuals in remote areas of the world, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
The brief can be found here.
EU Law May Offer Advantages to Companies Who Source From DRC
In an interview with Voice of America, Judith Sargentini, a member of the European Parliament, hints that companies may find advantages within the EU conflict minerals law. “I think he [Karel de Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade] will suggest some sort of advantages for companies that continue trading in commodities from eastern Congo and make an effort to do this as transparently as possible. What it could be is to make the entry point into the EU easier – make it cheaper or make it faster,” says Sargentini.
Ms. Sargentini acknowledged that this is in response to some of the criticism that the U.S. conflict minerals rule is facing, where some experts believe that the rule created a de facto embargo. Ms. Sargentini elaborated, “[t]he Dodd Frank Act led to no trade, which makes people unemployed. That’s not what I’m looking for. EU legislation doesn’t have to follow the U.S.”
Global Advanced Metals Receives Conflict-Free Designation
For the fourth consecutive year, Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd (“GAM”), a self-described leading producer of tantalum, has been certified as “conflict-free” through the EICC-GeSI Conflict Free Smelter Program.
Jean-Paul Meutcheho, GAM Director of Corporate Sustainability – Conflict Minerals stated, “GAM’s due diligence efforts cover the supply chain from the mine to our facilities, and this certification reaffirms our commitment that the tantalum sold to our customers is sourced responsibly.”
According to the press release, GAM is the first smelter of any metal to be certified conflict-free in four consecutive years.
On a side note, as of October 31, 2013, there has yet to be an EICC-GeSI certified conflict-free tungsten smelter.