On May 30, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued some brief guidance on the conflict minerals rules in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) available here.

The FAQs are concerned with around 11 issues. Of particular note for the tin industry, the SEC commented that packaging or containers that a product is sold in are not a “product” for purposes of the SEC rules, even where the packaging is needed to preserve the usability of the product. Therefore, for example, a food and beverage company selling its products in cans that are manufactured from tin are not required to file a disclosure covering that activity, although the company in the business of selling the packaging itself would, be subject to the rules. Other questions relate to the determination of manufacturing, the need to file reports, impacts on subsidiary companies and timing of reporting for newly acquired companies. It is also confirmed that mining is not considered manufacturing and neither mining companies nor service providers (such as a mineral transportation company) are covered by the rules.