Conflict Minerals is a term used to describe minerals that are mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, especially those sourced from mines under the control of violent forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo or the surrounding countries. Common minerals taken from such mines include gold, wolframite, casserite, Columbus-tantalite and their derivative minerals. These minerals are often referred to as “3TG,” (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold). 3TG minerals are common in many electrical products, solder, automotive components, jet engines, tools, sheet metal, PVC, weights/counterweights, jewelry, computers, biocides/fungicides, commercial electronics, cellular telephones, as well as other products.
Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) requires publicly traded companies to conduct upstream due diligence investigations of their suppliers’ sourcing practices and publicly disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission their use of 3TG minerals originating in the DRC or Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The law is designed to provide a disincentive to companies regarding the use of 3TG minerals sourced in these regions.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg and Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services offer a number of services to help ease the burden of publicly traded companies and their suppliers in meeting the requirements of Dodd-Frank. In addition, ST&R and STTAS offer programs to assist compliance officers and other company officials to understand the complex issues surrounding conflict minerals and to make sound decisions regarding how to manage the corporate supply chain to ensure as favorable outcomes as are possible under current political climates.
Conflict Minerals Training, Compliance Program Implementation, Reporting and Disclosure
ST&R and STTAS offer webinars and on-site training to company personnel and supply chain partners on the requirements of Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank, implementation of SEC rules, the OECD’s Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chain Management of Conflict Minerals, and the efforts of many leading industry associations (e.g., EICC and GeSI).
The firms also assist companies in designing and developing conflict minerals reporting compliance programs that are both tailored to their specific products, activities and supply chain operations and that align with their corporate responsibility and compliance codes. We assist purchasing, procurement and sourcing personnel in identifying affected products, mapping companies’ supply chain networks, identifying potential conflict minerals “red flags,” and designing “reasonable country of origin inquiry” processes. Where necessary, we can work to establish compliance improvement plans where required throughout the supply chain.
Our lawyers will also assess existing contractual agreements with vendors and suppliers (revising them as necessary to reflect company policies), draft the appropriate disclosure language for company websites, the SEC Form SD, and the conflict minerals report itself.
STTAS Conflict Minerals Managed Services
Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services (STTAS), Inc. reaches deeply into the supply chain, collects and manages the appropriate data, and reports relevant findings properly to SEC auditors and/or to customers. STTAS takes a multi-tasking team approach that leverages the best managed services software available with the critical analytical abilities of a team of international trade and supply chain experts. Using its proprietary origin management software, subject matter experts, and over 15 years of experience in trade compliance, STTAS can step in, design and manage every aspect of your company’s conflict minerals reporting program, including:
- Soliciting supporting documentation from supply chain partners;
- Conducting country of origin investigations;
- Ensuring retention of chain-of-custody records in an online data repository;
- Conducting internal audits; and,
- Assisting third party auditors in preparing SEC conflict minerals disclosures and conflict minerals reports.
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