The Dodd-Frank ‘Conflict Minerals’ Law (1502)
In 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DF) into Law. One section (1502) of DF requires US companies who report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to disclose whether the columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, wolframite or gold used to make their products may have funded armed groups. DF 1502 defines the mining area of concern to be the DRC and all adjoining countries which tended to lead to downstream companies avoiding all purchases from the region and a de-facto embargo, even of traceable conflict-free minerals.
DF 1502 is implemented by the SEC which published reporting rules on 22nd Aug 2012, however, there have been significant efforts to push back some of the conflict minerals provisions and in April 2017 the SEC suspended enforcement of part of the ‘conflict mineral’ rule. The controversial identification of ‘DRC conflict free’ is also unnecessary.
While many US downstream companies rely on audits of smelters by the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP, previously the Conflict-Free Smelter Program CFSP) or equivalent systems, some also make their own checks on incidents reported by ITSCI and other NGO sources by directly engaging with those organisations.
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