July 5, 2013 – July 12, 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.

WSJ: Is Supply Chain Management Software Sophisticated Enough to Help Companies Comply with Conflict Minerals Rule?

Joel Schectman of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) explores whether supply chain management software is “sophisticated enough to help companies effectively source conflict minerals?”

In Joel’s article, Tim Mohin, director of corporate responsibility at the chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), expresses his belief that tracking the source of the mineral from the mine is “almost an impossible requirement.” Tim states, “A lot of this material is artisanally mined with someone with a shovel outside of his house. It gets aggregated and it makes its way to a port — it’s a long chain from mine to smelter.”

Companies like AMD could turn programs like the EICC-GeSI Conflict-Free Smelter Program for help, but as of now only a handful of smelters and refiners are conflict-free compliant in regards to Tin, Tantalum and Gold — while there are no EICC-GeSI conflict-free compliant smelters for Tungsten.

Although there is software available to assist companies in compiling their suppliers’ responses to their requests, because suppliers’ responses will likely be incomplete (either because of the aggressive deadline imposed by the conflict minerals rule or because of their unwillingness to share such confidential supply-chain information), this software will not be able to provide much help (and not because of any inherent flaws with the software).

WSJ: Companies Unprepared for Conflict Minerals Rule Compliance

Ben DiPietro of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP survey released on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, approximately two-thirds of companies are in the early stages of compliance or have not yet begun complying with the conflict minerals rule.

In response to the results of the survey, Bobby Kipp, partner in PwC’s risk assurance practice stated, “I don’t think we expected to see this level of companies saying they haven’t really done much yet.”

H.C. Starck Receives EICC Certificate for its “Conflict-Free” Tantalum

A press release published in the Wall Street Journal, in conjunction with PRNewswire, states that H.C. Starck, “a leading manufacturer of technology metals and advanced ceramics,” received EICC certification for its “conflict-free” tantalum for the third year in a row.

For those unfamiliar with the Conflict Free Smelter Validation Program (CFS), the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) jointly certify smelters and refiners that have “a documented conflict minerals policy which is integrated into business operations; deploy a system for tracing finished goods back to its mine of origin, and document that all of their purchased materials are from conflict-free sources.”

For a list of “conflict-free” smelters and refiners, please see Compliant Smelter and Refiner Lists. As of July 9, 2013, there are no compliant tungsten smelters.