The European Union (EU) Trade Directorate today released a proposal for a regulation for a system of supply chain due diligence self-certification of ‘responsible importers’ of tin, tantalum, tungsten (3T) minerals and metal, and gold metal into Europe. This is a voluntary self-certification scheme by which information gathered on material country of origin and smelters in the supply chains of responsible importers will create a public list of responsible smelters. The importers will volunteer to follow OECD due diligence guidance, carry out audits, and prepare for their purchase and other records to be checked by the relevant authorities. The proposal does not specify locations affected by conflict or being high risk but makes a general definition which applies on a global basis, yet conversely, the proposal unfairly focuses on 3T’s and gold and not all minerals that could be affected by conflict in other locations. Campaigners have also expressed disappointment that the Commission’s proposal does not address other natural resources “By focusing only on four minerals, the Commission fails to address reports that other natural resources are also fuelling conflict,” said Astrid Schrama from PAX “Our research shows that in Colombia, coal extraction has financed the creation of armed paramilitary groups that have caused the deaths of thousands and has led to the displacement of at least 60,000 people in the mining area of Cesar region.” Disappointingly, there is no mention of joint industry programmes that can assist companies to be ‘responsible’, and an expectation that all information in the supply chain will be passed down to each company purchasing from that supply chain. The proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and Council before being finalised which will take many months. The EU press release (in english and french) and links at the bottom of the page to related documents can be found here.
EU draft regulation on mineral due diligence on conflict and risk
Mar 5, 2014