MEPs vote to stop trade in minerals financing armed conflicts
(STRASBOURG) - The EU Parliament approved Thursday new rules to ensure that minerals used by European industries are sourced responsibly, diverting revenues away from rebel groups, conflict, and terror.
The Regulation will impose due diligence rules on companies who import tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold - metals and minerals used in the production of everyday products such as mobile phones, car and jewellery.
Mineral-rich countries afflicted by conflicts have faced a vicious circle in which revenue from illegally extracted resources feeds armed revolts. The new rules are intended to ensure that minerals used by European industries are sourced responsibly, in a way that does not harm populations in mining regions and does not fuel war. They will reduce hardship and human rights abuses that have accompanied the trade.
Transparent and responsible supply chains mean revenues will not go into the hands of rebel groups, but to investment in schools and hospitals, supporting a well-governed state underpinned by the rule of law. It means improving people's lives, from conflict and terror to opportunity and hope. It means encouraging the economic growth that helps the poorest regions grow sustainably.
The regulation applies to all conflict-affected and high-risk areas in the world, of which the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region are the most obvious examples. Experts will draw up a non-exhaustive list of areas, but country of origin is not the only indicator: information on transit or an irresponsible supplier should also prompt a background check.
Together with the new rules, the EU will be putting in place accompanying measures to support small and medium-sized importers, and development aid to ensure the Regulation is effective and has a positive impact on the ground.
The rules will cover up to 95% of imports as of 1 January 2021. In the meantime, the Commission and EU Member States say they will work to make sure that the necessary structures are in place to ensure EU-wide implementation.
The Regulation now has to be formally adopted by the Council .
Further information, European Parliament