Compliance regulations for companies that handle conflict minerals have been revamped over the last few years — mainly in Europe and the U.S — as awareness regarding the human rights violations that are regularly associated with conflict mineral mining and manufacturing have come to light. The Conflict Minerals Rule passed in the U.S. in 2012 and put into effect in 2013 has heightened the compliance requirements for such businesses that handle tin, gold, tantalum, or tungsten, and the European Union has just drafted rules regarding the same four minerals — with some differences in regulation.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has created a definition for conflict minerals — or metals and minerals extracted from conflict afflicted or high-risk areas — by which the EU has constructed regulation. But many see the EU’s version of the rules as too slack. As The Guardian points out, the EU’s rules do not require compliance through each stage of a business’ manufacturing and processing operation, but rather only at the importation site. The Guardian quotes the OECD guidelines: