Congo Conflict Minerals Provisions Signed into Law

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law The Wall Street Reform Bill which, at §1502, contains provisions requiring publicly-traded and electronic companies such as Apple, Intel, and HP to annually report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on whether the columbite-tantalite, casserite, gold, or wolframite minerals used in companies' manufacture operations originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country. Companies using potential conflict minerals in their production will be required to certify whether their products contain minerals form conflict mines. 

In cases where such conflict minerals do originate in DRC or adjoining country, companies will have to report on the measures taken to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of such minerals. The bill requires that industry use outside auditors to determine where refiners are conflict-free. 

The legislation mandates the Secretary of State to annually compile a map of mineral-rich zones, trade routes, and areas under the control of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries based on data from local and national governments and local and international non-governmental organizations. 
 
These provisions were originally introduced on November 19, 2009, by Rep. Jim McDermott as The Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009. Commenting the passage the bill, Rep. McDermott's office stated that the goal of this bill was to "hold accountable American companies that use minerals in their products from mines that help fund the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)." The bill provides for one-year period prior to implementation of these provisions to enable industries to adequately prepare for these requirements.