On July 23, 2013, the US District Court for the District of Columbia (District Court) upheld the rule adopted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August 2012 to implement certain disclosure requirements for US reporting issuers that use conflict minerals originating in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo1. The SEC had adopted that rule as required by section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act), passed by the US Congress in 2010. As adopted, the rule applies to all US reporting issuers, including any Canadian companies that are reporting issuers in the United States under the SEC’s rules.
Following the adoption of the conflict minerals disclosure rule, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and the Business Roundtable filed a complaint in US federal court2 against the SEC challenging various aspects of the rule as arbitrary and capricious, and claiming that the disclosures required by the rule and by section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution by improperly compelling burdensome and stigmatizing speech. The District Court disagreed and granted summary judgement to the SEC on all claims. As a result, the conflict minerals disclosure rule remains in effect as adopted by the SEC. Companies that are subject to the rule must comply with its requirements for the year ending December 31, 2013, including by filing any required disclosure on or before May 31, 2014 in respect of the 2013 calendar year.
Read the Court’s decision (PDF): Civil Action No. 13-cv-635 (RLW)