Congo Conflict Minerals Legislation Passes Congress: Affects Technology, Automotive, Mining, Jewelry, and Aerospace Companies

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The U.S. Congress has passed legislation requiring companies that utilize “conflict minerals” to conduct due diligence and demonstrate that their products are not fuelling conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”). The legislation was added as an amendment to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was sponsored by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), and voted into law on July 15, 2010.

The conflict minerals legislation is intended to address the ongoing conflict in the eastern DRC. The premise of the bill is that the sale of certain minerals are helping armed groups continue to buy weapons and fund their fighting. These minerals are frequently referred to as “conflict minerals,” and are comprised of tantalum (coltan), cassiterite (tin), wolframite (tungsten), and gold. These minerals are commonly utilized in a variety of commercial products, such as automobiles, cellular phones, and airplane engines. The legislation therefore affects a large spectrum of industries, including technology, automotive, mining, jewelry, and aerospace.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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