EU political deal to stop the trade in conflict minerals

On 16 June 2016, the European Commission, EU Council and European Parliament agreed on the future adoption of an EU regulation, which will stop the financing of armed groups through trade in conflict minerals. It aims for UE companies to source minerals, which are typically used in everyday products (such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold), in a responsible manner.

This political understanding will help trade to work for peace and prosperity, in communities and areas around the globe affected by armed conflict, by breaking the vicious cycle between the trade in minerals and the financing of armed groups. Such new EU approach will build upon the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for responsible mineral sourcing.

The agreed framework will impose, on the critical “upstream” part of the conflict minerals supply chain, including smelters and refiners, the clear obligation to source responsibly. In addition, the Commission will establish a number of further measures, including the development of reporting tools, to boost supply chain due diligence by large and smaller EU “downstream” companies. The vast majority of metals and minerals imported to the EU will be covered by these obligations, while exempting just small volume importers.

The political understanding reached between EU institutions sets the Regulation on track for technical work and final adoption in the coming months.