In the 2010 Dodd Frank Act, the United States Congress required, inter alia, the SEC to promulgate a rule requiring certain manufacturers to trace the sources of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold that are contained in products they manufacture or contract to manufacture to allow them to report yearly to the SEC whether the products are “not DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] Conflict Free.” DRC Conflict Free was defined by Congress as meaning the products do not contain minerals that finance or benefit violent armed groups in the DRC or adjoining countries. Congress required the SEC action because “it [was] the sense of Congress” that the exploitation of conflict minerals from that region was financing armed groups that engaged in “extreme levels of violence” creating “an emergency humanitarian situation.” The rule was promulgated in 2012.
Since the SEC promulgated the rule implementing the provisions of Dodd Frank, the automotive industry has undertaken a very intensive coordinated effort, largely under the auspices of the Automotive Industry Action Group, to create and implement a system that would enable those industry members required to file reports to fulfill their reporting obligations under the rule. The first round of annual conflict minerals reports are required to be filed by May 31, 2014.
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