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New SEC Rules to Reduce the Use of Conflict Minerals

August 29th, 2012

The Missionary Oblate JPIC Office applauds the final rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to restrict the use of Congo conflict minerals and increase transparency in extractives-related payments.

On August 22, the Securities and Exchange Commission, in a 3-2 vote, adopted a rule requiring public companies to disclose information about their use of minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo where militias linked to atrocities have profited from mining minerals. Conflict minerals mined in war-torn Congo are essential to the manufacture of high-tech electronics, jewelry and other goods. The rule is know as Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Another important rule adopted by the SEC known as Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, requires oil, gas and mining companies to disclosure and report payments they make to governments for resource extraction. The vote will require U.S.-listed oil, gas and mining companies to disclose what they pay to governments, as part of their annual filings to the SEC. This rule will bring more transparency to payment for extractives, especially to countries in Africa and Latin America.

Oblate JPIC staff participated in several meetings with the SEC, sign-on letters and conferences that called for the adoption of stronger final rules, which we firmly believe will make a significant difference in the lives of the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The four conflict minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold – are used in large quantities in the manufacturing of electronic products.

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