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Africa: Statement Concerning the Continued Importance of Due Diligence for Conflict Minerals Identified in Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

By US Department of State
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WASHINGTON, May 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

May 26, 2014

The Department of State recognizes recent progress in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Republic of Rwanda towards developing legitimate supply chains for the conflict minerals (gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum, and their ores) identified in Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). However, exploitation of these minerals by armed groups continues to fuel conflict, pose a threat to peace and stability, and undermine efforts by the DRC authorities, the United States, and other international partners to end decades of strife in the African Great Lakes region.

On Friday, May 2, 2014 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an order clarifying that companies are required to comply with most due diligence and reporting requirements related to conflict minerals from the DRC and adjacent countries under its rule implementing Section 1502. The Department welcomes the SEC action as a key step towards ending the illicit exploitation of the DRC's minerals and establishing transparent, conflict-free production, processing, and export of these resources. The Department strongly encourages companies to continue conducting due diligence on their supply chains for these four minerals as required by law and the SEC guidance. Disclosure reports, pursuant to the SEC's April 29, 2014 guidance, generate increased public confidence in companies' due diligence efforts and significantly contribute to these important objectives.

Developing a legitimate mining industry is critical to building an economic foundation for a sustainable peace in the eastern DRC and the African Great Lakes region, which is an essential component of U.S. policy in the region. The importance of this goal within the region itself is reflected in the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC signed by regional governments. It is also reflected in the call by the member states of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to combat the illegal exploitation of minerals and their use to undermine peace and security.

The Department appreciates the efforts of the many companies, industry associations, and civil society groups that have partnered to promote conflict-free sourcing for minerals from the African Great Lakes region and through commercial supply chains. Per its February 2013 guidance, the Department will continue to work constructively and pragmatically “to provide guidance to commercial entities seeking to exercise due diligence” on their mineral supply chains.