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SEC's Conflict Mineral Rule Lays Minefield of Uncertainty

Melissa Klein Aguilar | January 11, 2011

Supply chain transparency will be a hot topic in 2011, thanks to a controversial Securities and Exchange Commission proposal aimed at curbing violence in the war-torn African Congo.

The Dodd-Frank Act directs the SEC to write rules requiring companies to disclose whether their products use or contain conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country. Under a proposal out for comment until Jan. 31, a wide range of issuers would have to disclose annually whether they use certain minerals “necessary to the functionality or production” of a product that they manufacture or contract to be manufactured that originate from the DRC.

The minerals are gold; cassiterite, the metal ore used to produce tin; columbite-tantalite, the ore tantalum is extracted from; and wolframite, an ore used to produce tungsten. The metals are used in all sorts of products, including jewelry, computers, cell phones, video games, digital cameras and jet... To get the full story, subscribe now.