August 30, 2013 – September 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.

European Commissioner for Trade: Conflict Minerals and the Need to Act

On September 3, 2013, the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, addressed attendees at a Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. event titled, Responsible Souring of Minerals from Conflict-Affected Regions. A transcript of the speech can be found here.

In his speech, Mr. De Gucht called on the European Union (EU) to act before the end of the year. Whichever form the EU action takes, Mr. De Gucht urged the EU to follow these principles, among others:

  • action must support existing efforts (such as the US conflict minerals rule) to tackle the issue;
  • avoid creating incentives for companies to stop sourcing minerals from conflict regions altogether; and
  • use a targeted approach.

Report: Expectations for Companies’ Conflict Minerals Reporting

The Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), in collaboration with the Enough Project, released a report detailing their expectations for companies who will have to file reports under the conflict minerals rule.

As Ben DiPietro points out in his Wall Street Journal article, in some cases, the expectations exceed what is required under the conflict minerals rule. For example, Enough Project and RSN expect companies to continue to source conflict-free minerals from the DRC and the surrounding area. Ms. Patricia Jurewicz, a spokesperson for RSN, stated, “[This expectation] is important because it encourages companies to stay in region and not to cut and run.”

The fact that RSN is proposing disclosure that is more detailed than the conflict minerals rule requires underscores the fact that companies’ reports will be reviewed by more than just the SEC staff.

iPoint Announces Increase in Users of Its iPoint Conflict Minerals Platform (iPCMP)

In a press release, iPoint announced that “since the beginning of the year, the user numbers [of iPCMP] have increased by 5500%.”

Some companies are turning to conflict minerals software platforms, such as iPCMP, to assist them in their conflict minerals compliance. These software platforms allow a company to view data in different ways and send out timely inquiries to its suppliers. In addition to iPCMP, please find a list of other software platforms below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is not an endorsement of the following software platforms:

MAPI: Conflict Minerals Compliance Survey

Last month, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) conducted a survey regarding the corporate activity focused on complying with the conflict minerals rule.

As MAPI’s website states, “103 company representatives from the CFO, EHS, Finance, Internal Audit, Law, Purchasing, and Sustainability councils shared their progress regarding decisions made and activities completed. Questions covered who within the company is leading compliance efforts, the number of personnel involved, hiring expectations, supplier questionnaires, budgeting, plans and opinions with respect to auditors, and anticipated filing status. Results are also broken down by revenue and industry.”

Click here to view image.

The results of the survey can be found here: Corporate Conflict Minerals Compliance Survey.

Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) Holds Consultative Conference on Conflict Minerals

This past May, SARW held a conflict minerals consultative conference in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to Claude Kabemba’s article published on the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa website, “the consensus that emerged during the discussions was that to finally end the conflicts in the DRC, it was necessary to first end illegal mining and the illicit trade in minerals, which were fuelling the violence.”

The consultative conference’s recommendations included, but were not limited to:

  • “The Congolese must develop their own solutions to conflict minerals rather than adopting solutions that are given to them by the international community without proper consultation, since these are difficult to implement. The DRC government should consult Congolese experts during the conceptualisation of solutions to mineral-driven conflicts and only accept outside ideas if they are based on the best interests of the country;
  • The government should improve border controls by acquiring modern mineral detection equipment to reduce smuggling at border posts; and
  • Women should be given opportunities to play an active role in promoting good management in the mining sector and in helping to resolve conflicts.”

To view all of the conference’s recommendations, please see Claude Kabemba’s article titled Consultative Conference on Peace Agreements and Conflict Minerals in the DRC.