August 9, 2013 – August 16, 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.

Conflict Minerals Rule Legal Challenge: Expedited Briefing Schedule Set

Last month, Judge Robert Wilkins of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the business industry groups’ argument that elements of the conflict minerals rule were arbitrary and capricious and that the rule violated the First Amendment.

On August 12, 2013, the business industry groups appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

On August 15, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set the briefing schedule for NAM v SEC. NAM’s first filing must be made by September 11th. The SEC’s reply is due by November 13th.

MetalMiner: Colombian Tungsten Taints Apple, Inc. and Samsung’s Supply Chains

This week, MetalMiner highlighted a Bloomberg article which “uncovered illegal tungsten mining in Colombia that supports that country’s terrorist group FARC and its efforts.”

The Bloomberg article indicates that Apple, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Hewlett-Packard Co. and many automobile manufacturers’ supply chains have all been linked to the Colombian tungsten mine known as Cerro Tigre, or Tiger Hill. According to the article, Tiger Hill is the only known tungsten mine in Colombia and supplied less than 1% of the world’s tungsten in 2012.

In its analysis, MetalMiner observes that Colombia is not a “Covered Country” under the conflict minerals rule and therefore the supply of tungsten from Colombia is not subject to the reporting requirements of the conflict minerals rule.

The takeaway from MetalMiner’s article is to keep your eye on the prize when focusing on your compliance efforts and that means to focus on complying with the current Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)-specific conflict minerals law. But, be aware that your customers and activists groups may expand their focus to minerals not covered by the conflict minerals rule.

Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) Publishes Two Resources to Assist You in Your Compliance Efforts

Tanya Bolden, Corporate Responsibility Program Development Manager at AIAG, recently wrote an article on GreenBiz.com titled, “Are You Ready to Report on Conflict Minerals?”

In her article, Tanya features two (2) resources from AIAG that companies may find useful, both being case studies. The first case study is titled Automotive Industry Approaches to Conflict Minerals Reporting: A Case Study of Automakers and Suppliers. According to Tanya’s article, “the first case study, is based on interviews with five AIAG members who lead conflict minerals compliance efforts at their respective companies — two original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and three Tier 1 suppliers. In the case study we cover their approach at three stages of the compliance process — Getting Started, Engaging the Supply Chain and Looking Ahead — and in each section we list some common challenges and lessons learned.”

According to Tanya, the second case study, titled The Conflict Minerals Compliance Reporting Process: A Collaborative Case Study, “provides general information about the conflict minerals compliance process and shares some working assumptions made by leading companies on areas within the SEC final rule that lack clarity.”