Today, I'll be covering one important topic related to compliance within the metal industry: conflict minerals. Read on for an explanation of what these minerals are and why it's important for metal vendors and manufacturers to know where their metal products are sourced.
What are Conflict Minerals?
"The term "conflict minerals" is defined as columbite tantalite, also known as coltan (from which tantalum is derived); cassiterite (tin); gold; wolframite (tungsten); or their derivatives; or any other mineral or its derivatives determined by the Secretary of State to be financing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country."
Simply put, "conflict minerals" get their name because they are mined and sold by regions experiencing some type of conflict. It could be military, economic, etc. In these areas, countless human rights violations occur in the pursuit of valuable minerals.
The premise of conflict minerals regulations, which apply to all companies required to report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is that businesses and individuals who purchase these minerals are funding human rights violations and providing oppressive regimes with the incentive to continue forcing individuals to work in difficult, dangerous environments against their will.
What Does This Mean for Mead Metals?
Although Mead Metals, a privately held corporation, has no direct legal requirements to comply with SEC regulations, we have fully implemented the reporting and disclosure requirements as directed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to fulfill our responsibility to support our customers. Not complying with the requirement to track the source of the minerals that may originate from conflict regions makes businesses and individuals susceptible to legal ramifications, it is essential that metal vendors and service centers are not only aware of the original sources of their materials, but also have that awareness supported with proper documentation.
To learn more about laws regarding minerals, review the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law by then President Obama in 2010. Section 1502 details the international trade and use of conflict minerals as it relates to United States law.
In order to both comply with United States law aimed to avoid funding human rights violations, we at Mead Metals require properly documented source information ensuring no minerals originating from conflict areas come through our facility and inadvertently end up in the products manufactured by our customers.