One of the three key Committees in the European Parliament has agreed on its opinion on how the draft EU Regulation on ‘responsible importers’ of tin and other ‘conflict minerals’ put forward by the European Commission should be strengthened before it is finalised. The original proposal suggests a voluntary system of self-certification for importers of tin ore, concentrate, metal and some alloys for materials coming into the EU from any ‘high-risk’ area of the world but the Development Committee did not consider this effective enough, and its opinion, adopted on Monday calls for the system to be mandatory. The Development Committee stressed that the new law should apply to undertakings “at all points in the minerals and metals supply chain” which may use or supply minerals or metals from problematic areas, thus extending its scope considerably from importers of mineral and metal. MEPs also said that the requirement for due diligence should be more tailored to the activities of the company’s position in the supply chain (“upstream” vs “downstream”) in line with OECD Guidance.

The Development Committee, bearing in mind the risks of embargo from a mandatory approach, stressed the need for the Commission to present a legislative proposal on all accompanying measures in order to ensure an integrated EU approach including support for incentives, technical assistance and guidance, dialogues with third countries and other stakeholders, and targeted development cooperation with third countries. The opinions of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committees are not yet available; a final vote of the European Parliament as a whole is scheduled for May.