European Parliament votes in favour of binding regulation on conflict minerals

conflict minerals

On 20 May 2015, the European Parliament positioned itself in support of a mandatory due diligence scheme for downstream and upstream companies that sell tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold – in any form – in the EU.  Now the Council, Parliament and the Commission are undertaking "trialogue" negotiations behind closed doors.

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Article
21 April 2015

Too Weak to Work? EU’s Conflict Minerals Regulation

Author: Source Intelligence, on 3BLMedia

The European Parliament's International Trade Committee...has recently voted on the amendments to the EU's conflict minerals regulation...The Members of the European Parliament have chosen to "conserve a large part of the system based on business self-certification and responsible labeling of supply chains." The vote was in favor of a mandatory system of certification for EU's smelters and refiners...The recent ruling on the proposal has left some in disappointment...[T]he left and the Greens...believe the newly adopted system should "be binding standards at all stages in the supply chain."...The draft regulation...still needs to be approved by the entire European Parliament...What issuers and non issuers can learn from the recent conflict minerals filings will be addressed in an upcoming webinar. The webinar will assist publicly traded companies with their upcoming smelter disclosures, and non-issuers and suppliers with requests from their customers...

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Article
16 April 2015

Parliament adopts relaxed measures on conflict minerals

Author: Cécile Barbière, Euractiv

MEPs from the Committee on International Trade have rejected a set of binding regulations for certain minerals extracted in conflict zones, in favour of a less ambitious system of self-certification, which would exclude some minerals entirely...The EU's smelters and refiners are the only industries that will be forced to use responsibly sourced minerals...This regulation, supported by the political right, is vehemently opposed by the left and the Greens, who had hoped for a system with binding standards at all stages in the supply chain...The...system also attracted harsh criticism from NGOs, who feel it lacks the teeth to hold the mineral extraction sector to account...[C]riticisms of the...proposal [also] hinged on its narrow scope...[T]he proposed new regulations...ignore many...conflict minerals, like emeralds from Colombia or copper, and jade and rubies from Burma...The proposed regulation will now be put before the European Parliament's plenary in May...

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Article
15 April 2015

EU parliament committee backs mandatory conflict minerals rules

Author: Geraint Roberts, Chemical Watch

"EU trade committee backs mandatory conflict minerals scheme",

Voting yesterday, the International Trade Committee (INTA)...adopted a series of amendments to be voted on by a plenary session of the full parliament, probably in mid-May...But human rights NGOs, and the Greens/European Free Alliance group of MEPs, said the committee should have voted for a mandatory scheme that would have applied to the OEMs as well as the importers...The rules would “only apply to a limited number of firms that import raw materials and not target other companies in the supply chain,” said the Greens...The INTA also voted down amendments, extending the scope of the Regulation to include other minerals and metals...

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Article
15 April 2015

NGOs call on EU parliament to extend scheme to all companies sourcing conflict minerals

Author: Amnesty Intl., Berne Declaration, CIDSE, Commission Justice et Paix, EurAc, Global Witness, JESC, Pax, PowerShift, SOMO, Walk Free

"European Parliament’s Trade Committee wastes ground-breaking opportunity on conflict minerals", 14 April 2015

INTA has failed to extend the legal requirements to the vast majority of companies involved in the trade, such as manufacturers, traders and companies importing products that contain these minerals. It also fails to regulate foreign actors that supply to European companies. Although we welcome a mandatory approach, this excessively narrow scope will likely fail to make a meaningful and lasting impact on a trade that fuels conflict and human rights abuses in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and Zimbabwe.Civil society is calling on the European Parliament to strengthen the law when it votes in mid-May.

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Article
14 April 2015

"Blood-free" minerals scheme must be binding, EU lawmakers say

Author: Reuters

European importers of minerals from conflict zones should be forced to certify their goods "blood-free", an influential group of EU lawmakers said on Tuesday, seeking to toughen a proposal to prevent the financing of warlords in Africa. Much of the gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten used in electronics and lighting is mined in areas of civil conflict in Africa and the European Commission, the EU executive, last year presented a plan for a voluntary certification scheme...But the European Parliament's trade committee wants to force smelters and refiners to certify their imports, voting 22 to 16 with two abstentions, to strengthen the draft law.

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Article
14 April 2015

Conflict minerals: Small steps forward for draft transparency rules

Author: The Greens, European Free Alliance

The European Parliament's trade committee today voted on draft EU legislation aimed at preventing conflict minerals through supply chain transparency. The vote improved the original draft law proposed by the Commission by creating binding transparency rules rather than a voluntary scheme. However, the Greens criticised the failure to ensure the rules to apply throughout the supply chain. 

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Article
24 February 2015

SOMO: EU’s Conflict minerals proposal must not be limited to four minerals

Author: SOMO

The European Commission has set out to reduce the financing of armed groups through the sales of conflict minerals. But by focusing narrowly on the procurement of four minerals, their new regulation will have limited effect. New research by SOMO shows that dozens of different kinds of minerals are associated with conflicts worldwide. The researchers call for radical adjustments to the EU proposal. SOMO research shows that in 2013, conflicts that were associated with minerals occurred in 17 countries throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In the conflict regions, a wide variety of minerals was produced, ranging from iron ore, zinc, sulfur, nickel and molybdenum to silver, jade, diamond, and many others. Copper was the mineral most frequently associated with conflicts.

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Article
20 February 2015

Press release: 125 Church leaders ask the EU to put a stop to conflict minerals ahead of crucial votes

Author: CIDSE

Church leaders through their statement ask for the legislation to:

• Introduce mandatory requirements for companies to guarantee the respect of human rights, rather than pursuing a voluntary approach as currently proposed.
• Cover a wider range of companies: not only the importers of raw minerals, as currently proposed, should be affected by the law, since this would exclude the large amount of minerals processed abroad and imported into the EU markets already inside finished products.
• Cover more natural resources: the proposed legislation only affects tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. But the exploitation of other natural resources such as copper and diamonds also can be linked to human rights abuses.

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Item
20 February 2015

Video: Congolese church leaders explain importance of strong EU rules

Author: CIDSE

Article
19 February 2015

Commentary: EU has a crucial opportunity to strengthen conflict minerals proposal

Author: Monsignor Fridolin Ambongo & Monsignor André-Joseph Léonard (CIDSE)

The EU already proved its willingness to act strongly in 2013 on payment transparency in the extractive industries. Now, the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee will hold a key debate on the “conflict minerals” regulation next week. Parliamentarians have a crucial opportunity to continue building on this success by strengthening the weak proposal made by the Commission.

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