U.S. Court upholds the SEC’s final rule for Dodd Frank conflict minerals provision
Global Witness applauds the Washington, D.C. court’s decision to uphold the Security and Exchange Commission’s final rule for Dodd Frank Section 1502, a provision requiring companies to disclose their use of Congolese conflict minerals.
The Court’s decision is a major victory in the fight to protect human rights in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is an important step towards improving corporate accountability globally. Under Section 1502, U.S.-listed companies are required to publish information about whether four minerals that they buy – tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold - are funding armed groups in eastern DRC. The Court rejected the arguments put forward by industry plaintiffs the Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and National Association of Manufacturers, and upheld the final rule in its entirety.
By upholding the final rule for Section 1502 the Court rejected wholesale the Chamber and NAM’s bid to gut Section 1502. Despite the suit, some U.S.-listed companies have already begun to meet the requirements of the law. The companies behind this court case must now take immediate steps to comply with this legislation.
Conflict minerals are used by armed groups to fund violence and insurrection. Global Witness's work on conflict minerals currently focuses on eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where fighting has continued for almost 15 years, driven by the trade in valuable minerals. Millions of people have died, and many more have been displaced. There are four main minerals being mined by the population in eastern Congo: cassiterite (the ore for tin), coltan (the ore for a rare metal called tantalum), wolframite (tungsten ore), and gold. The illicit trade in these minerals provides rebel groups and units of the national army with tens of millions of dollars a year that they use to buy guns and shore up their rival campaigns.
International pressure generated by Section 1502 has catalysed changes in Congo’s eastern Kivu provinces. While substantial challenges remain, progress has been made towards establishing conflict-free supply chains in eastern DRC for tin and tantalum. In October 2012, the Conflict-Free Tin initiative (CFTI), a closed-pipe system in which all players in the vertically-integrated supply chain are known, was launched in eastern DRC’s South Kivu province. Major SEC-listed companies are participating in the project, including firms who were not previously buying minerals from the Great Lakes Region. Although in its early stages, the CFTI is an example of how, if properly implemented, responsible sourcing from conflict-affected areas in eastern DRC could become a reality. Watch this film to learn more about the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative in South Kivu.
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- .. | Legislation
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