In a speech delivered on 3 September 2013 in Brussels, EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht confirmed the willingness of the European Union to take action on conflict minerals, possibly prior to year end.

The intention is to contribute to the elimination of illegitimate control over mining areas by warlords and of the fuelling of rebellions and violence, by removing conflict minerals from the supply chain. This would favor the restoration of governmental powers, revenues and public services in conflict-affected areas.

The EU initiative will aim at supporting existing efforts while avoiding damaging the economy.

It should be noted that, contrary to some existing legislation, rules and other guidance, a broad geographical scope is being considered by the EU, as the control would be extended to regions other than the Central Africa Great Lakes Region.

EU Commissioner De Gucht expressed his satisfaction with the broad participation in the consultation organized earlier this year (see McGuireWoods Client Alerts “Recent EU Mining Developments” dated 18 April 2013 and 10 June 2013).