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Conflict Minerals – Motion to Stay DENIED

In a ruling today, May 14, the Court of Appeals denied the emergency motion to stay the Conflict Minerals Rule.  So, companies should complete their analysis and, if necessary, their drafting of Form SDs and Conflict Minerals Reports to be ready to file by the June 2 deadline.  However, remember that on May 2, the SEC issued a partial … Continue Reading

Conflict Minerals Legal Challenge — SEC, NAM, Industry Coalition and Amnesty International Briefs Filed

Between May 8 and May 13, briefs on the trade associations’ emergency motion for stay were filed by the SEC, the trade association petitioners, an industry coalition, and Amnesty International.  Two steps remain —   First, the oral argument in American Meat Institute, which is set for May 19.  American Meat Institute is a case involving a First Amendment … Continue Reading

Second Form SD and Conflict Minerals Report Filed

Today, Monday May 12, the second Form SD and Conflict Minerals Report was filed with the SEC by Affymetrix, Inc.  Affymetrix described itself as a “provider of life science products and molecular diagnostic products.”  Consistent with our usual practice, we will not provide a critique of the filing here.  However, it is worth noting that, like … Continue Reading

Conflict Minerals — Industry Groups File Motion For Full Stay in Response to SEC Partial Stay

On May 2, the SEC issued a partial stay of the Conflict Minerals Rule.  This partial stay implements the substance of the statement of the Director of Corporation Finance that was released on Tuesday, April 29th.  Our  blog post of April 29th  summarizes the SEC Statement.  As they indicated they would, the trade groups that challenged the Conflict Minerals Rule filed a … Continue Reading

URGENT — SEC Releases Statement on Conflict Minerals Rule

On Tuesday, April 29, 2014, Keith Higgins, the Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, released an eagerly awaited statement on the effect of the Court of Appeals decision on the conflict minerals rule.  Two weeks ago, the Court of Appeals found that the conflict minerals rule violated the First Amendment when it required reporting … Continue Reading

SEC Commissioners Issue Joint Statement on Conflict Minerals Rule

Today, two SEC Commissioners issued a joint statement indicating that they believe that the effectiveness of the conflict minerals rule should be stayed pending the final outcome of the legal challenge because they believe that the district court could conclude that the entire conflict minerals rule is invalid.   In part, they said: “The First Amendment concerns permeate … Continue Reading

SEC Pressured to Implement the Conflict Minerals Rule Without Delay

Last week, on April 14, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in the legal challenge of the conflict minerals rule and affirmed most of the provisions of the rule, but it found that portions of  the SEC’s conflict minerals rule violated the First Amendment when they required that reporting companies report to the SEC and … Continue Reading

New Conflict Minerals FAQs — But Little New Guidance

On April 7, 2014, the SEC issued a second set of FAQs on the conflict minerals rule which is presented as Frequently Asked Questions 13-21. Most of the new FAQs provide guidance on the Independent Private Sector Audit (IPSA), which very few companies will be required to provide for this first reporting year.  But, a couple … Continue Reading

EU Releases Draft of Conflict Minerals Regulation, Proposes Voluntary Scheme

Summary of EU Conflict Minerals Regulation: Focuses on upstream portion of supply chain, specifically the more than 400 importers of minerals into the EU Creates new, voluntary EU system for supply chain due diligence self-certification Offers incentives to companies that undertake the due diligence steps Defines “Conflict Minerals” as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (same as … Continue Reading

Delay in the EU Initiative on Conflict Minerals

The European Commission’s legislative proposal for a European approach on conflict minerals has been delayed. The EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht had, earlier this year, promised a proposal for an “effective but reasonable” EU system to encourage responsible sourcing of minerals produced in what he called “conflict areas” before the end of the year. … Continue Reading

European Commissioner Confirms EU Focus Only on 3TG – Proposal Now Expected by Late October

On Tuesday, September 17th, EU Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, spoke at a Public Hearing of the Committee on Development in Brussels. He spoke about the role of extractive industries in developing countries in promoting development through responsible business practices. In that speech, de Gucht confirmed that the EU approach to conflict minerals is … Continue Reading

Expanded Expectations for Conflict Minerals Reporting

On September 5, 2013, Responsible Sourcing Network and the Enough Project published a paper detailing certain stakeholders’ expectations about the form and content of a company’s Form SD and Conflict Minerals Report. The authors fire a warning shot to reporting companies – telling them what components certain observers deem important and urging companies to report additional factors that … Continue Reading

Additional Guidance via FAQs from the SEC

For months, many have been pressing for additional guidance from the SEC on the conflict minerals rule.  Finally, on May 30, 2013, the SEC staff provided a bit of that guidance.  The FAQs cover some of the questions that have been raised almost continuously since the rule was issued last August.   But, the guidance is limited to only 12 questions and, for the … Continue Reading

House Committee on Financial Services Hearing — TODAY – 2 P.M. Eastern

The US House of Representatives has announced that this afternoon (Tuesday the 21st), the Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade will hold a hearing on “The Unintended Consequences of Dodd-Frank’s Conflict Minerals Provision.” The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern time. The following witnesses are scheduled to testify: David Aronson, Freelance Writer, … Continue Reading

Challenging the Conflict Minerals Rule — A Review of the Docket — Activity in the District Court

Here’s an update on the state of play in the legal challenge to the conflict minerals rule: On May 2, 2013, the US Court of Appeals granted the petitioners’ motion to transfer the case challenging the conflict minerals rule to the US District Court for the District of Columbia. On May 6, 2013, the District … Continue Reading

Unintended Consequences of the Conflict Minerals Rule?

There can hardly be any disagreement with the stated goal of the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule.  Congress directed the SEC to enact rules requiring disclosure about the use of conflict minerals because it believed that the exploitation and trade of conflict minerals from the DRC were helping to finance armed conflict there — conflict characterized … Continue Reading

Conflict Minerals: Public Utilities, Energy and Power Companies Should Consider This

The Conflict Minerals Rule (Rule) requires SEC reporting companies to undertake diligence and then report their use of certain minerals. The Rule applies to all SEC reporting companies that manufacture or contract to manufacture products containing any of the four “conflict minerals” – gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten.  Conflict minerals are found in countless electronic and … Continue Reading

Challenging the Conflict Minerals Rule — Action on the Docket (January 16, 2013)

As contemplated by the briefing schedule, on January 16, 2013, the Petitioners filed their Opening Brief in their bid for a review of the SEC’s conflict minerals rule.  In their 198-page brief, the Petitioners (Business Roundtable, US Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers) addressed each of the grounds for review that they … Continue Reading

Opinion: The SEC’s New Role as Diplomatic and Humanitarian Watchdog

The article “Conflict Minerals Legislation: The SEC’s New Role as Diplomatic and Humanitarian Watchdog” scrutinizes the legislative history and lobbying efforts behind the conflict minerals provision and concludes that, unlike the majority of the Dodd-Frank bill, the conflict minerals rule goals are moral and political, rather than financial. The article argues that the presence of … Continue Reading

Conflict Minerals – Parts I Through III

The Squire Sanders Conflict Minerals Practice Group, led by partner Dynda A. Thomas, published a three-part series between July and October 2012. The series offered timely insights on the proposed and final rules. Part I of III – What You Need to Disclose (July 2012) Proposed Rules Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 required the … Continue Reading