EU Conflict Minerals Legislation: Debate Is Far From Over

25/05/2015 21:40

China Development Gateway reports that the decision by the European Parliament (EP) to reinforce legislation on "conflict minerals, (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold or 3TG)" praised by NGOs as a "major" advance, is meeting with opposition as detractors are bringing into contention "perverse effects," particularly in Africa, as well as the difficulties of enforcing such a policy. 

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted in a large majority for the introduction of a mandatory compliance scheme for "all the importers of the Union" of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold supplied from conflict zones. The 880,000 manufacturers of the EU who are potentially concerned would be required to obtain an EU certification guaranteeing that they do not support fighting and human rights violations in conflict zones.

In an open letter a number of NGO's stated that "extending the binding requirement to tackle the entire trade effectively - not just one part of it - would put the EU at the forefront of global efforts to create more transparent, responsible and sustainable business practices". But the voices who speak out to denounce the "perverse effects" of restrictive legislation are also numerous. In an open letter published last September, seventy researchers, political figures and directors of NGOs affirmed that, rather than improve things, the Dodd-Frank law passed in the USA in 2010 has had "a certain number of unintentional and damaging consequences, such as the withdrawal of buyers due to the absence of a reliable traceability system, leaving thousands of miners out of work."