Firms to report DRC minerals

2012-08-23 10:15
US companies will be required to disclose whether they use 'conflict minerals' sourced from the DRC. (AFP)

US companies will be required to disclose whether they use 'conflict minerals' sourced from the DRC. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US public companies will be required to disclose whether they use "conflict minerals" sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, under a new securities rule adopted.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said companies using tantalum, tin, gold, tungsten and other minerals in their products have to report to the authorities if the minerals came from DR Congo or neighbouring countries.

The new rule, part of the broader Dodd-Frank package of mostly finance industry regulations, aims to support efforts to curb the exploitation of mines by rebel groups in eastern DR Congo.

"A company that uses any of the designated minerals is required to conduct a reasonable 'country of origin' inquiry that must be performed in good faith and be reasonably designed to determine whether any of its minerals originated in the covered countries or are from scrap or recycled sources," the SEC said in a statement.

The rule can apply to a company that contracts other manufacturers, in China for instance, to make their products.

Protests


Rights groups have placed growing pressure on the business world to stop directly or indirectly fuelling the conflict in DR Congo by buying valuable rare minerals mined in the region to the benefit of insurgents and rebels.

The rule raised protests from companies and some regulatory officials saying that it places international social goals into regulations aimed mainly at protecting investors.

"The SEC just isn't the right tool for this type of social policy exercise, as we should know from past experience," said SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher.

"As the chairman stated when proposing the 'conflict minerals' rulemaking nearly two years ago, 'expertise about these events does not reside within the commission.'"

The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents electronics producers, cautiously applauded the measure.

"Any mining activities that fuel conflict are unacceptable, and the tech sector will continue to work with the international community to ensure transparency and responsible practices within global supply chains," said ITIC vice president Rick Goss.

"While the release of the conflict-minerals rule is a milestone in the effort, it cannot on its own replace the results to be gained through a robust, co-ordinated international effort that addresses the underlying causes [of] conflict in Central Africa," he added.

But human rights group Global Witness said the new law had been modified to give manufacturers a large loophole.

"We are extremely disappointed that the rule will allow companies to describe the origin of their minerals as 'undeterminable' for a period of two years - or four years for small companies," it said.

"The minerals trade is fuelling violent conflict and human rights abuses in eastern DRC and delays in implementing the law postpone the moment at which companies take responsibility for the impact of their purchases, jeopardising efforts to stop minerals funding conflict and seriously undermining the aim of the law."
Read more on:    drc  |  central africa  |  security

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.