Feeds

Europe floats DIRTY ORE plan, rights groups scoff: It's VOLUNTARY?

Intel applauds conflict mineral proposal: We're ready to commit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The European Commission has released a draft for a programme to regulate the use of conflict materials.

The EC said that its plan includes measures which would seek to restrict groups from trading in valuable minerals in order to fund armed conflicts. The package would bring a certification which would require importers in the EU to show that their supplies of gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten were not sourced from armed groups using forced labour.

The aim of the plan is to restrict the flow of "conflict minerals" gathered from resource-rich but war-torn regions of the world – such as the Congo, where armed groups often force local residents to work in mining and harvesting operations.

Among the measures being proposed by the EU are financial incentives to fund investigative efforts on metals suppliers. Small and medium-sized companies which perform "due diligence" checks on where their raw materials are coming from will be named on a "responsible smelters and refiners" list held by a member state. Such checks would be part of a public certification programme backed by the EC.

Other points of the plan include diplomatic efforts to establish policies and agreements with local governments to help ensure that materials are gathered ethically and responsibly.

Such measures have become particularly important for the semiconductor industry, which relies on the raw materials to produce hardware components. Intel, which recently put forth its own conflict-free minerals initiative, said that it welcomed an EU initiative.

"At Intel, we take this matter very seriously. Tackling what initially looked to be a near-impossible challenge several years ago, we are committed to implement systems required to achieve a conflict free supply chain that we have today," Intel EMEA vice president and general manager Christian Morales said in a statement.

"We are conscious it is a long journey which needs the collaborative effort of many to succeed."

Not everyone, however, is sold on the EC's plan. Human rights group Amnesty International said that the proposed measures fall well short of the actions needed to make any real impact in the trading of conflict minerals. In particular, the group blasts the voluntary nature of the provisions.

"Anything short of a mandatory reporting obligation for EU-based companies using and trading natural resources, will fail to prevent Europe from acting as a conflict mineral trading hub," said Amnesty International head of business and human rights Seema Joshi.

"Nor will it ensure that European companies avoid causing or contributing to serious human rights abuses when sourcing from these high-risk areas."

The US "conflict minerals" law, contained in Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, requires mandatory disclosure of minerals' source, as well as evidence of due diligence on the source and chain of custody of the minerals. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.