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April 19, 2015

Key European Parliament Committee Calls For Mandatory Conflict Minerals Regime For Some Industries

The European Parliament has taken one more step toward a mandatory regime for conflict minerals, but the plan will apply to only a handful of European companies. Last Tuesday, the Parliament’s International Trade Committee adopted a conflict minerals plan that calls for a mandatory (rather than voluntary) conflict minerals certification program for European Union smelters and refiners only. 

According to The National Law Review, the committee also approved the establishment of a “European responsible importer” label for importers that comply with the regulation. 

Proponents of stronger conflict minerals regulations were still not happy with the committee’s draft. According to MetalBulletin Global Witness called the proposal “weak and ineffective” because it would “require only a tiny number of companies importing four key minerals into Europe to source them responsibly and transparently.” (The committee’s plan would not apply to those companies “who purchase minerals for the production of goods such as mobile phones and other electronics.” These firms would self-certify the results of their conflict minerals audits. 

As Connecting the Dots reported previously, the European Commission prefers a completely voluntary system for conflict minerals reporting. The full European Parliament will vote on this matter May.