In response to an April 14th ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued updated guidance for regulated companies on the new conflict minerals reporting requirement rule mandated by Section 1502 of the Dodd-Street Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The guidance clarifies that companies still must file reports by June 2, 2014, however, they are NOT required to describe their products as "DRC conflict free," having "not been found to be 'DRC conflict free,'" or "DRC conflict undeterminable," as doing so was ruled a violation of the First Amendment by the Court.
Due to the Court of Appeals rejecting all of the challenges to the rule based on the Administrative Procedure Act and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the SEC guidance details its expectation that companies file any reports required on or before the due date of June 2, 2014. The Form SD and any related Conflict Minerals Report, should comply with and address those portions of Rule 13p-1 and Form SD that the Court upheld. Thus, according to the guidance, companies that do not need to file a Conflict Minerals Report should only disclose their reasonable country of origin inquiry and briefly describe the inquiry they undertook.
For companies required to file a Conflict Minerals Report, the SEC guidance indicates the report should include a description of the due diligence that the company undertook. If the company has products that fall within the scope of Items 1.01(c)(2) or 1.01(c)(2)(i) of Form SD, it would NOT have to identify the products as "DRC conflict undeterminable" or "not found to be 'DRC conflict free,'" but should disclose, for those products, the facilities used to produce the conflict minerals, the country of origin of the minerals and the efforts to determine the mine or location of origin.
The SEC has posted a detailed FAQ page designed to assist companies with filing reports.