Conflict minerals compliance has been in the spotlight for U.S. businesses in recent months as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently set forth rules that require companies to file reports should they use four specific minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo: tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. The first report has been submitted by Siliconware Precision Industries in the form of a filed Form SD — the new report through which companies must file their conflict mineral reports by June 2.
The reports must include analysis of a company’s supply chain management in order to determine at which levels conflict minerals may have been used. Siliconware Precision Industries manufactures semiconductor packaging, and Compliance Week reports that the company says it has implemented the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
The company stated: “SPIL does not make purchases of raw ore or unrefined conflict minerals and makes no purchases in the covered countries. SPIL has determined in good faith that for calendar year 2013, its conflict minerals status resulting from its due diligence efforts shows a portion to be ‘DRC conflict undeterminable’ and the remainder to be ‘DRC conflict free.’ In the next compliance period, SPIL intends to implement steps to improve the information gathered from its due diligence to further mitigate the risk that its necessary conflict minerals do not benefit armed groups.”
But conflict mineral mining and usage is not just the focus of the SEC, Europe has implemented conflict mineral monitoring rules as well, although some see them as less strict. While Europe does not specify the Democratic Republic of Congo as the place of origination that the four minerals in question must be reported from, it broadens the definition to any zones considered locations of human rights violations. Except, the EU’s regulations only require reporting about the importation site of the minerals — not all stages of the supply chain.
And the SEC’s ruling has not gone without criticism either: a U.S. court recently judged that the ruling violates the First Amendment. Without overturning the ruling, the court condemned it. Companies still have about one month to gather their conflict minerals reports.