EU regulation on conflict minerals adopted

The European Parliament has approved the regulation on conflict minerals. BDI welcomes the fact that the regulation comprises voluntary arrangements for the downstream area (from smelting through to end product manufacturer). The industrial association had argued that EU-wide implementation of the due diligence requirements for importers of minerals and metals must not lead to competition disadvantages for companies.

Focus on transparency and accountability

The objective of the regulation is to prevent the financing of conflicts and human rights violations through trade in minerals. The regulation puts in place binding due diligence requirements in relation to mineral procurement for companies and traders which import certain minerals and metals into the EU market. These requirements will be applicable from January 2021. The European Commission wants to monitor the effectiveness of the regulatory apparatus on a systematic basis and expressly retains the right to take further binding measures if the regulation should prove inadequate. Irrespective of the regulation, the issues of transparency and accountability in the area of minerals will continue to be high on the policy agenda into the future.

Broad majority for the draft regulation

The draft text was adopted with 558 votes at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 16 March 2017. There were just 17 votes against and 45 abstentions. The European Parliament’s committee on international trade had previously approved the text with no votes against. A policy discussion which has lasted many years is provisionally brought to an end with the resolution.

Implementation in the Member States

Authorities in the Member States will now be responsible for ensuring compliance with due diligence by importers of minerals and metals. The German Federal Government has entrusted this task to the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe – BGR). An implementing law is under preparation in Germany.