SEC mineral disclosure bill might help bring peace to conflict zones, nuisance to companies

SEC mineral disclosure bill might help bring peace to conflict zones, nuisance to companies
The US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week adopted new rules that oblige companies to disclose whether they use four minerals, tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten. This is an important step towards much needed regulation that might bring peace in the war-ridden Democratic Republic of the Congo, where those exact minerals are in the very root of the bloody conflicts.

The new rules were passed 3-2, with the opposition coming from SEC’s two Republican members, fearing those regulations are unrealistic. Democrats who get credit for passing the bill claim that this will bring transparency and allow to see which companies are buying the so called “conflict minerals.”

If a company cannot be certain about the origin of its minerals, it’d need to file a form with SEC explaining which products rely on those minerals, what facilities process them, where the minerals came from and what efforts the company took to determine their original location.

Those minerals are widely used in electronics - from iPhones to desktop computers, but it seems that percent-wise their usage in smaller gadgets is much higher.

Companies have a two-year grace period to determine the source of their minerals and SEC won’t be able to punish those who buy from countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When it comes to those minerals, it has been a problem persistent throughout the years, and we’re happy to see the SEC taking an active stand to try and stop the bloodshed in African countries like DRC. Companies on the other hand, will have to invest some effort into determining the origin of their minerals, and this might be a problem for smaller firms.

source: The Hill

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