Press Release

EU: Conflict Minerals agreement reached as exemptions added

Child miners as young as 11 working in Kaji, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo[/caption] Even companies required to comply with the Regulation have been offered shortcuts. The European Commission has agreed to accredit private industry bodies to which companies have increasingly sought to outsource their obligations to check their supply chains. Members of accredited industry bodies will benefit from limited oversight. In addition, companies will be encouraged to source from a list of “responsible” smelters and refiners, despite few mechanisms being put in place to actually assess the behaviour of all smelters and refiners on the list. The Regulation will not come into force immediately, with legislators opting instead to insert a lengthy phase-in period. “Talk of a phase-in is a red herring. The regulation reflects responsibilities companies have had for many years, and they have all the tools and information they need to comply. Enough time has been wasted looking for ways to help companies shirk their responsibilities. Now the focus must be on making sure they meet them as soon as possible,” said Michael Reckordt of PowerShift. By itself, this trade Regulation cannot bring peace and prosperity to communities blighted by the resource curse. Civil society has therefore welcomed the EU’s integrated approach intending to complement the new Regulation with diplomatic and development measures. “Concluding these negotiations is an important achievement, despite the limited scope of the new law. But this is only the beginning of the process, not the end. Now is the time for companies to show that they are serious about meeting their responsibilities; for EU member states to show that they are committed to enforcing the standards which have now been established; and for the EU to make use of all its resources to promote a more sustainable and responsible sourcing of minerals worldwide.” said Frederic Triest of EurAc. Notes to the Editor The EU reached a “political understanding” in June 2016, which set the broad political contours for the Regulation. Technical discussions were then held to develop the final text of the Regulation. This “trilogue” process concluded today, with the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council reaching agreement on a final text. This text will now be voted on in the Council and Parliament. The Regulation applies to companies whose imports of ores or metals of tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold into the EU exceed certain specified annual thresholds. The law will require companies to conduct “due diligence” on their supply chains broadly in line with the requirements of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.” Unlike the EU’s Regulation, this OECD Guidance applies to all mineral resources and to the entire supply chain, including companies that buy or trade products containing those minerals. Due diligence on mineral supply chains does not aim to discourage sourcing from fragile and high-risk areas. Rather, they seek to encourage and facilitate a more responsible and transparent trade with these regions. For further information please contact: Amnesty International Alison Abrahams: Tel: +32 2 548 2773; email: Global Witness Rosie Childs: Tel: +44 7725 260 530; email: EurAc Julie Capoulade: +32 499 81 01 77 ; email: PowerShift Michael Reckordt: +49 (0)30 42805479, email: Joint Press Release supported by: Amnesty International Action Aid Alboan Association Internationale de Techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs Bread for the World CEE web for biodiversity Christliche Initiative Romero Cidse Diakonia DKA Austria EurAc Fairtrade Luxembourg Fundacion Mainel Germanwatch Global Witness Instytut Globalnej Odpowiedzialnosci Jesuit European Social Centre Jesuit Refugee Service Justice et Paix Commission Justicia I Pau London Mining Network Misereor Powershift Sciaf Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund Solidaritat Castelldefels Kasando Somo Stop Mad Mining WEED e.V. – World Economy, Ecology & Development   This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of PowerShift, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EuropeEU Logoan Union.Stop Mad Mining