The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has missed a second deadline for the publication of corporate disclosure rules relating to the use of “conflict minerals” in response to the provisions of the financial reform legislation passed 18 months ago. A whole range of requirements covering areas such as executive pay, credit ratings and derivatives trading is also yet to be addressed. The SEC has issued a timetable for rulings and reports through 2012 and the conflict minerals rules are now scheduled for some time in January – June.

Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed in July 2010 mandated that US companies report any purchases or use of conflict minerals (defined as tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold emanating from DR Congo and neighbouring countries), and charged the SEC with writing, implementing and enforcing the reporting rules. The SEC missed an original 17 April 2011 deadline to produce such rules and indicated that it would do so between August and December last year.

Since the requirement to disclose the source of minerals to the SEC applies in each company’s first financial year after the rules are released, and, since many companies financial years begin on 1st January, many will now not have to disclose their mineral sources for 2012. Central African tin ore accounts for about 3% of world mine supply.