According to EURACTIVE and other reports the proposal for EU legislation on conflict minerals has been delayed until around the end of Q1 2014. This had previously been expected before the end of 2013, but it now appears that the impact assessment performed by the European Commission Trade Directorate is not considered sufficient and further work will need to be done before it is finalised. To make progress in the European Parliament, the proposal would need to be available before EU elections next May. Issues at stake include how many minerals should be covered in any new law, and whether European firms should face mandatory or voluntary ‘due diligence’ requirements for checking their raw materials’ sourcing. Brussels is known to have been in contact with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) about creating a list of internationally recognised and audited smelters for use by European mineral extraction firms. EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht has previously stated that the Commission’s focus would be on the narrowest point of the supply chain – smelters — with incentives to upstream suppliers to carry out due diligence and has also stressed the need for the EU approach to be compatible with the US Dodd-Frank Act, which industry groups argue is too burdensome on businesses resulting in a de-facto trade embargo of targeted regions. It is not clear how incentives could be passed upstream by product manufacturers to smelters.
EU conflict mineral law proposal delayed
Nov 18, 2013