GAO Studies Delay in Conflict Minerals Rule

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The GAO has issued a report that examines among other things:

  • steps the SEC has taken toward issuing a conflict minerals disclosure rule; and
  • stakeholder-developed initiatives that may help covered companies comply with the anticipated rule.

The GAO concludes the continued delay in issuing a final rule has contributed to a lingering uncertainty among industry and other stakeholders who expect their actions to be guided by a final rule. Some of these industry and other stakeholders have engaged in the development of various initiatives that they hope may help covered companies comply with the anticipated rule, in part by helping foreign and domestic suppliers of those covered companies trace minerals in their supply chains. Without a final rule, it is unclear to what extent the initiatives currently being developed or implemented by industry and other stakeholders will achieve results consistent with those anticipated under the conflict minerals legislation. Moreover, in part because of the delay in the rule’s issuance, many companies across the tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold supply chains are reluctant to participate in or support the global and in-region initiatives currently being developed or implemented because they are uncertain whether or not the initiatives will align with the anticipated rule.

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