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Repeal and Replacement of Conflict Minerals Rule 1502 Undermines Peace and Stability in the Congo

Author: Lauren Compere, Boston Common Asset Management, and Patricia Jurewicz, Responsible Sourcing Network, in Huffington Post (USA), Published on: 4 April 2017

The cell phone in your pocket or laptop you may be reading this on could contain minerals used to fund militia groups and war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)... One of the few glimmers of hope that the Congolese people have had in recent years has been the ‘Conflict Minerals Section 1502’ of the Dodd-Frank Act – passed in the U.S. in 2010 with the aim of reducing revenue flows to DRC militia groups. The law helps create demand by multinational corporations to only source certified “conflict-free” minerals, thereby driving momentum for mines in the DRC to de-militarize and cease funding to the militia groups fueling conflict... 

Unfortunately however, a Congressional Hearing this week is part of a concerted attempt by current decision makers in Washington to dismantle 1502... We believe many of the arguments cited for repealing and replacing Section 1502 are misinformed... The most recent study conducted by the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) found that 79% of tin, tantalum, and tungsten miners surveyed now work in conflict-free mines; 204 mines have been officially certified as conflict-free; and 75% of smelters/refiners worldwide for the four conflict minerals have passed audits by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) or associated programs. All of the momentum from the past six years will be lost if companies no longer feel the pressure to source responsibly because they don’t have to submit annual mandatory disclosures... On March 7, 129 investors and investor groups managing total assets close to $5 trillion, called upon the SEC and Congress to continue widespread and comprehensive implementation of Section 1502... Numerous companies and corporate trade associations also submitted statements to the SEC supporting Section 1502 such as KEMET ElectronicsSignet JewelersCFSI, and Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).

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