The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on September 29 that it would hold a roundtable on October 18 to hear views from interested parties on its controversial “conflict minerals” rulemaking, established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DFA). The SEC has already delayed its publication of the final rule, which would impose new reporting – and in some cases auditing – requirements on publicly traded companies to make shareholders aware of any use in their supply chains of gold, tin, tungsten, or columbite-tantalite originating in the war-torn Central African country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(For more information about the conflict minerals rulemaking, see Pepper’s February 28, 2011 Client Alert, “‘Conflict Metals’: Comment Deadline Is Nearing on New SEC Disclosure Requirements.”)
The scheduling of the roundtable comes in the wake of a strongly worded Court of Appeals decision in July, which found the SEC’s cost-benefit analysis in another DFA rule inadequate and struck down the regulation. (For a discussion of this decision, see Pepper’s August 18, 2011 Financial Services Alert, “Dodd-Frank Regulators Beware: New Rules Will Not Survive Without Sound Economic Justification.”
The panel discussion will focus on “key regulatory issues such as appropriate reporting approaches for the final rule, challenges in tracking conflict minerals through the supply chain, and workable due diligence and other requirements related to the rulemaking.” (See http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2011/2011-197.htm.) The roundtable will take place at the SEC’s headquarters auditorium from 12:30 to 5:15 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the SEC’s Web site.