The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) has announced further progress in its conflict-free smelter programme.
This is a voluntary program in which an independent third party assesses a smelter’s procurement activities and determines if the smelter demonstrated that all the materials they processed originated from conflict-free sources. This provides a mechanism for legitimate minerals trade originating in the DRC and adjoining countries and gives a way for companies to ensure a conflict-free supply chain.
In June they announced the first three gold refiners had been found compliant with the conflict-free smelter requirements. This is in addition to the first compliant tin smelter and the first compliant tantalum smelter processing materials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), both announced in May.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been coming under growing pressure recently to implement the conflict mineral provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.
This pressure has come from non-governmental organisations like Global Witness and The Enough Project who have highlighted the role of minerals in fuelling the conflict Congo. In addition, some technology companies, like Microsoft and Motoral Solutions who have been proactive on conflict minerals, have publicly split from the US Chamber of Commerce’s negative lobbying on the regulations (despite being members of it). Then, last week members of US Congress wrote to the regulator’s head urging her to explain the delay. And now the SEC has announced they will vote on the conflict minerals regulations on 22nd August.