EU proposed regulation of supply chains in minerals

26 October 2015

On 27 October all member states of the European Union have to vote on an important measure passed by the Parliament of the EU in May. If approved, the measure would require all firms bringing gold, tungsten, tin or tantalum into the EU to have set up procedures to check their supply chains and review their policies to address the risk that they may be financing conflict and/or fuelling serious human rights abuses in conflict zones.

The regulation applies to all conflict-affected high risk areas in the world, of which the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes area are the most obvious examples. The draft law defines 'conflict-affected and high-risk areas' as those in a state of armed conflict, with widespread violence, the collapse of civil infrastructure, fragile post-conflict areas and areas of weak or non-existent governance and security, characterised by "widespread and systematic violations of human rights" http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20150513IPR55318/html/Conflict-minerals-MEPs-ask-for-mandatory-certification-of-EU-importers.

Peru today does not come into this category, but the measure constitutes an important starting point for the regulation of supply chains, something much needed in the case of Peru as a major gold exporter and also a country in which much illegal gold is fed into legitimate channels for final trading. The measure (if accepted) would thus create a useful precedent for further efforts to require such monitoring. There is an on-line petition available for those wishing to press the UK government to sign the measure at http://londonminingnetwork.org/conflict-minerals-petition/

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