Conflict Minerals: three-way discussions on the current state of affairs

The Dutch Presidency intends to conclude discussions on conflict minerals within its mandate. In May 2015, the European Parliament (EP) voted in favour of a binding mechanism for monitoring the supply chain of minerals from conflict zones. The proposal is ambitious because it requires not only importers of minerals and smelters and refineries to source responsibly but also manufacturers of semi-finished and finished / manufactured goods such as mobile phones, PCs and washing machines to ensure that the minerals in their products are not supplied to armed groups.


Taking this stance, the EP negotiators have begun a dialogue with negotiators from the member state governments who are generally in favour of just a voluntary system. By contrast, the European Commission wishes to set itself up as facilitator, proposing the following compromise: a binding regulation for importers of minerals; in other words, for just one section of the supply chain, the ‘upstream’ section. Nevertheless, Parliament is insisting on a more ambitious framework – which is encouraging.


The three-way discussions will probably resume in April – so stay tuned!


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