European Parliament approves conflict minerals law

13 June 2015

EU importers of ‘conflict minerals’ will need to be certified under a draft law adopted by MEPs.

Under the new rules, EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold for manufacturing consumer goods, need to be certified by the EU to make sure they do not fuel conflict and human rights abuses in conflict areas.

In addition, "downstream" companies, the estimated 880,000 potentially affected EU firms that use the minerals in the manufacture of consumer products, will have to provide information on the steps they take to identify and address risks in their supply chains.

MEPs are calling for smelters and refiners to undergo a compulsory, independent, third-party audit to check their due diligence practices.

The European Parliament has also asked the European Commission to grant financial support to micro-businesses and small and medium-sized firms wanting to obtain certification through the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

The draft law defines “conflict-affected and high-risk areas” as those in a state of armed conflict, with widespread violence, the collapse of civil infrastructure, fragile post-conflict areas and areas of weak or non-existent governance and security, characterised by "widespread and systematic violations of human rights".

EU member states will be consulted to seek agreement on the final version of the law.

Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are used in many consumer products in the EU, in particular by the automotive, electronics, aerospace, packaging, construction, lighting, industrial machinery and tooling industries, as well as in jewellery.

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