November 29, 2013 – December 6, 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.

Metal Miner: Even German Suppliers Unsafe From Conflict Minerals Compliance

In his latest article, Even German Suppliers Unsafe from Conflict Minerals Compliance,  Taras Berezowky of Metal Miner focuses on a documentary by Seth Chase titled, “Obama’s Law.” According to the documentary’s website, “Obama’s Law is a feature length documentary exploring how the conflict mineral campaign has affected the daily lives of Congolese people in the DRC.”

The documentary is of interest to Taras because as Taras points out, Matthias Wachter, director of the Department for Security and Raw Materials at the Federation of German Industries (Germany’s version of our U.S. Chamber of Commerce), sat down with the filmmakers as part of the documentary and stated that the conflict minerals rule will make business increasingly difficult for not only US suppliers, but German suppliers as well. Taras notes that this is just one example of how the conflict minerals rule is also affecting non-U.S. companies.

The Guardian: “Conflict free” Minerals from the DRC Will Only Be Possible If Companies Stay

Simon Propper and Peter Knight, in their article titled, “Conflict Free” Minerals From the DRC Will Only Be Possible If Companies Stay, argue that “unless a broader coalition of industries gets behind pioneering conflict-free sourcing work, the DRC may remain in economic darkness.”

Mr. Propper and Mr. Knight, acknowledge that “the easiest option for mineral buyers is to avoid any sources that could come from the DRC and surrounding region.” This, however, would put an end to the efforts of the “NGOs and concerned companies which have been trying to set up tracing systems to save conflict-free mines in the DRC and neighbouring countries.”

Mr. Propper and Mr. Knight highlight one such NGO, Solutions for Hope, which was able to, as of last year, start “producing verified conflict-free tantalum from a cooperative in Northern Katanga province.” Mr. Propper and Mr. Knight urge companies to follow the likes of Intel, Phillips and HP, which have supported several NGO’s and their work in supporting conflict-free DRC trade.

The Final Call: Gaps Threaten Conflict Minerals Certification

Carey Biron of The Final Call wrote an article titled Gaps Threaten Conflict Minerals Certification in which she highlights the Enough Project’s recent call for local governments in the DRC region to move faster on conflict minerals certification.

Carey quotes Sasha Lezhnev, a senior policy analyst with the Enough Project, who said, “But if Rwanda, Congo and regional states do not take urgent steps to complete the mineral certification process in the next few months, multinational companies may stop purchasing many minerals from the region that cannot credibly be certified as conflict-free.”

Annie Dunnebacke, deputy campaigns director at Global Witness, notes that even if government certification is not completed by next year, companies can still rely on private sector due diligence, noting that ”…companies can carry out due diligence, and can also source from the region, even if a fancy certification process is not up and running.” 

To read Carey’s entire article, see Gaps Threaten Conflict Minerals Certification.