July 19, 2013 – July 26, 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.

U.S. District Court Upholds Conflict Minerals Rule

In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins rejected the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s claim that the conflict minerals rule was arbitrary and capricious and that the rule violated the First Amendment.

To read a more thorough analysis of the decision, please see Dynda’s recap of the decision titled, Conflict Minerals Legal Challenge Rejected.

Op-ed: Conflict Minerals Policy Hurts Miners

In an op-ed published by the Vancouver Sun, Jonathan Cooper highlights the unintended consequences of the conflict minerals rule. “There is considerable evidence that, while well intended, DF 1502 has had the practical effect of putting millions of Congolese out of work, without at the same time measurably improving their security situation.”

Mr. Cooper specifically is concerned about the small, artisanal miner who “lack[s] the resources to navigate the new compliance landscape and the capacity to seek diverse export markets.” He asserts that many artisanal miners lost their buyers as companies ceased sourcing from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To read Mr. Cooper’s entire op-ed, please see Conflict Minerals Policy Hurts Miners.

Op-ed: The Case for Corporate Civil Disobedience

Continuing with this week’s op-ed theme, David C. Fischer, in an op-ed published by the Washington Times, asserts in a “tongue in cheek” manner that reporting companies should respond to their reporting obligations under the rule by stating, “The information cannot be obtained without unreasonable effort or expense.”

Mr. Fischer supports his op-ed with an interesting statistic that the chance a product contains conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the surrounding area is “slight (as they have accounted for less than 2 percent, respectively, of world production of gold and tin and approximately 3 percent of tungsten) to less-than-likely (as up to 30 percent of world production of tantalum is sourced there).”

Mr. Fischer concludes, with the above-mentioned statistic in mind, and the majority of reporting companies being “smaller reporting companies” as defined by the SEC, that it may not be feasible for companies to comply with the rule.

To read Mr. Fischer’s entire op-ed, please see The Case for Corporate Civil Disobedience.

Conflict Minerals Declaration: Ecliptek Corporation

Ecliptek Corporation, a self-described leader in the frequency control market providing its customers crystal and oscillator products, recently published its conflict minerals declaration on its website. Excerpts from the declaration follow. “Although Ecliptek Corporation is not a publically traded company, and therefore is not directly subject to this law, we are providing this declaration to our downstream customers to help them comply with any obligations relative to this law. Ecliptek Corporation has completed a Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry (RCOI) using the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template created by the Electronics Industry Citizens Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). The inquiry was reasonably designed and was conducted in good faith with an effort to obtain reliable representations indicating smelter or refiner facilities at which its conflict minerals were processed and that those conflict minerals did not originate in the DRC or adjoining country or come from recycler or scrap suppliers. Based upon the RCOI conducted by Ecliptek Corporation, this document declares that all conflict minerals used in Ecliptek products do not originate in the DRC or an adjoining country or come from recycler or scrap supplier. This document certifies that all Ecliptek Corporation products are declared ‘DRC conflict free’.”