August 17, 2019

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Final EU Conflict Minerals Regulation – Only the Publication Step Remains

On April 3, 2017, the European Council took the last procedural step and approved the EU conflict minerals regulation. Publication in the Official Journal of the European Union will be the next and final step of the process. The publication could occur in 3 to 6 weeks.  Here is the text of the official EU Conflict Minerals Regulation.

As discussed in our previous post, the EU regulation applies to importers into the EU of at least 95% of all minerals or metals containing or consisting of tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold. The regulation requires those importers to perform due diligence in an effort to promote responsible sourcing of those minerals and metals to ensure that their supply chains do not contribute to funding of armed conflict. The due diligence requirements will become effective starting on January 1, 2021, but importers are encouraged to apply the due diligence procedures as soon as possible. There will be negative financial and reputational consequences of having relationships with smelters and refiners that do not comply with approved third-party audit process requirements.  So, importers would be wise to get an early start and commence their efforts actively to manage their supply chains in advance of the January 2021 effective date.

According to the EU regulation, covered companies will be required to use the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (or other guidelines that may be approved in the future) as the framework for their supply chain due diligence procedures.

One of the key areas for action yet to come is a non-binding handbook to be prepared by the Commission to help companies determine what constitutes a “conflict-affected and high-risk area.”  The content of this handbook could be surprising to many because “conflict-affected and high-risk areas” will likely include many parts of the world from which importers source their minerals and metals.  Further, having significant commercial relationships in such regions could subject even non-importers to questions about their sourcing and operations.

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About this Author

Dynda A. Thomas, SquirePattonBoggs, Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer
Partner

Dynda Thomas has extensive experience in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and project finance. She has had principal responsibility for numerous mergers, acquisitions and dispositions for public and private companies in a wide range of sell-side and buy-side auctions and negotiated transactions.

As leader of the Squire Patton Boggs’ conflict minerals team, Dynda focuses on relevant industries’ best practices in working with clients’ legal, procurement and compliance groups. She advises on developing and reviewing procurement policies,...

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Christina Economides, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm, Public Policy Advisor
Public Policy Advisor

Christina is an advisor in the firm's public policy practice in Brussels in coordination with the public policy international group.

Christina's former positions include an International Recruitment Consultant for a Netherlands-based recruiment agency, EU Public Affairs Consultant for Afore Consulting (a Brussels-based consultancy with a focus in financial services), running the Secretariat of the European Payment Institutions Federation, Policy Officer for the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Assistant for Ioannis Kasoulides cabinet at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Experience

  • Being in charge of the recruitment process for multilingual professionals in the Netherlands.
  • Monitoring the legislative developments at EU level on a number of financial services and technology subject matters.
  • Being the account manager and provide public affairs and strategy support to clients from the financial services sector.
  • Providing daily regulatory updates, drafting strategy papers and assessment reports to clients on several legislative and non-legislative matters.
  • Liaising with EU officials to gather intelligence on legislative matters.
  • Running the Secretariat of the European Payment Institutions Federation (EPIF) and being responsible for the day-to-day administrative operation of the association including communication with its members, managing the association’s website and recruitment process as well as responding to enquiries by third parties.
  • Drafting all the materials for the regular EPIF meetings such as the board, technical committee and the general meetings.
  • Drafting strategy papers on the standard setting aspect of payments covered through the European Payments Council and the Euro Retail Payments Board chaired by the European Central Bank.
  • Being responsible for conceptualizing and organizing events, workshops, briefing lunch/dinners and outreach meetings with EU policy makers for the members of EPIF and the British Chamber in the fields of financial services, competition, trade and innovation.
  • Producing briefings, reports and speeches for Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, former Member of the European Parliament (EP) and current Minister of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus.
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