Global Perspective On Smelter Verification

Nov 11, 2014 3:30 PM ET

With the increase in production from around the world and the need for raw materials growing at an alarming rate, companies from all over the globe are being pressured, by the public, to act on their due diligence and maintain a conflict mineral free supply chain. Although, easier said than done, companies are creating enormous amounts of effort in order to make sure the raw materials they use to manufacture their products are not being sourced from areas that promote slave-style labor and warfare. Companies who are communicative within their supply chain have gone to certain lengths to verifying where their raw materials come from; but is there more companies can do to stop the process of potentially taking in conflict minerals?  Smelters are as close as anyone can get to verifying whether or not these materials are conflict free. Jean De Ruyt, a Senior European Policy Advisor for the National Law Review writes, how increased due diligence within the European sector will help increase transparency. With the European Commission (EC) creating similar regulation as the Dodd Frank Act here in the United States, Jean De Ruyt explains how responsibility is a mixture between both companies and supplier/smelters.

“Importers would be required to exercise “due diligence” by monitoring and administering their purchases in line with the relevant Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. To increase public accountability, a list of “responsible smelters and refiners” would be set up every year. Companies selling products containing these minerals would receive public procurement incentives while SMEs and the OECD would get financial support.”

With the Dodd Frank Section 1502 Act focusing on products made with minerals that are primarily mined out of the Western Africa region, the EC regulation would focus on suppliers and smelters from beyond this scope.  

“If the products covered are the same as those covered by Dodd Frank 1502, the geographical scope proposed by the European Commission is radically different. The scope covers all “conflict zones” in the world, not only the Great Lakes region.”

Ultimately the goal for any company is to verify on all levels where their minerals are coming from. In order to see the path in which these minerals come from, the name of the source is required. Smelter verification is vital to the success for any conflict free program. Manager of Smelter Verification, Elizabeth Martin of Source Intelligence will be conducting an exclusive webinar offering key insights on Smelter Verification for Conflict Minerals; A Guide to Understanding the Facts. Register here for our November 18th webinar at 10 am PST.